Yes, Drivers Do Want Apple CarPlay, Android Auto...When They Know What It Is

August 27, 2015

Why wouldn’t new-car buyers want to take their familiar smartphone interface and apps into their vehicle?

It’s an open question asked in the wake of results released this past week by J.D. Power, mentioning Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as among the 14 technology features that 20 percent or more of owners don’t want in their next vehicle.

Those results come from Power’s 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report, which looks at driver experiences with in-vehicle technology in the first 90 days of ownership.

READ: Study: Autonomous Vehicles Will Go Mainstream In 5 - 10 Years

According to that firm, a surprisingly high percentage of owners simply don’t use certain types of built-in connectivity in their vehicle—or even know that it’s there.

How do automakers make key decisions about what technologies consumers want in their next car—if those shoppers don’t yet know about that technology first?

It’s a dilemma that automakers will increasingly face as vehicles with this more advanced (but simplified) connectivity are hitting the market this summer and for the 2016 model year; and J.D Power does hint that dealership training and tech demos to buyers are quickly becoming the missing link.

In-vehicle concierge services, mobile routers, automatic parking systems, head-up displays, and built-in apps are also among the least-used technologies mentioned as unwanted in the Power report.

Missed opportunities for dealerships—and owners don’t know what they’re missing

Those are all things that are quite easily demonstrated at the dealership. And, it seems, that’s in the interest of dealerships themselves, as it would help sell cars.

Indeed, once shoppers are aware of what CarPlay and Android Auto do—essentially project a version of the smartphone interface to the car’s infotainment system, in a way that lets you use the vehicle's larger touch screen, microphone, and integrated systems—it seems that their attitude about the feature’s usefulness makes an about-face.

And to be fair, at the time that the J.D. Power survey was conducted (April through June of this year) there were very few, if any, vehicles that had been delivered with those connectivity systems.

Earlier this year, as part of their “Apps in the Car Survey - 2015,” IHS Automotive found that among those who have heard of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, about 90 and 91 percent, respectively, are either interested or somewhat interested in having that feature on their next vehicle.

At that time, slightly more U.S. respondents had heard of Android Auto than Apple CarPlay.—corresponding with a somewhat higher rate of Android smartphone ownership among those polled (49 percent, versus 42 percent iOS).

Few recognize the names, let alone know what the two systems are. Among the youngest group (including Millennials) barely half knew about CarPlay. And among the oldest groups in the survey, the percentage that recognized it was under ten percent.

Again, awareness is the obstacle. So who’s getting the word out?

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