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Found 28 results

  1. The New York Times dropped a bombshell of a report last week saying that German automakers funded an experiment that had 10 monkeys in airtight chambers, inhaling diesel fumes from a Volkswagen Beetle TDI. The experiment took place back at an Albuquerque, New Mexico laboratory in an effort to prove newer diesel vehicles were cleaner than older models. But researchers were unaware that the Beetle used in the experiment was equipped with a defeat device that allowed it produce fewer emissions in the lab than on the road. This experiment was brought to light via a lawsuit against Volkswagen in the U.S. The European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (E.U.G.T) commissioned the experiment. Funding for the group was provided by Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler. The group did not do any research itself, instead commissioning scientists to conduct studies that could be used to defend the fuel. Last year, the group was shut down amid controversy over its work. The three automakers told the Times "the research group did legitimate scientific work." "All of the research work commissioned with the E.U.G.T. was accompanied and reviewed by a research advisory committee consisting of scientists from renowned universities and research institutes,” Diamler said in a statement. Both BMW and Diamler told the publication "they were unaware that the Volkswagen used in the Albuquerque monkey tests had been set up to produce false data." Volkswagen said at the time of original story that researchers involved in the study did not publish a complete report. Since then, Volkswagen has issued an apology. “We apologize for the misconduct and the lack of judgment of individuals. We’re convinced the scientific methods chosen then were wrong. It would have been better to do without such a study in the first place,” the German automaker said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg. But there is another twist to this story. German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung reported yesterday about a study done by the University of Aachen in Germany that had 25 people breath in diesel exhaust as part of a clinic. The study was funded by the E.U.G.T. and was referenced in annual reports from the group. The University said that it "had followed typical procedures, such as approval by an independent ethics commission as well as written consent from each participant." It is unclear whether or not participants were told what the experiment would entail. Nevertheless, it is another black eye for German automakers and diesel. Source: New York Times, Bloomberg, (2), Stuttgarter Zeitung, Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  2. The New York Times dropped a bombshell of a report last week saying that German automakers funded an experiment that had 10 monkeys in airtight chambers, inhaling diesel fumes from a Volkswagen Beetle TDI. The experiment took place back at an Albuquerque, New Mexico laboratory in an effort to prove newer diesel vehicles were cleaner than older models. But researchers were unaware that the Beetle used in the experiment was equipped with a defeat device that allowed it produce fewer emissions in the lab than on the road. This experiment was brought to light via a lawsuit against Volkswagen in the U.S. The European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (E.U.G.T) commissioned the experiment. Funding for the group was provided by Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler. The group did not do any research itself, instead commissioning scientists to conduct studies that could be used to defend the fuel. Last year, the group was shut down amid controversy over its work. The three automakers told the Times "the research group did legitimate scientific work." "All of the research work commissioned with the E.U.G.T. was accompanied and reviewed by a research advisory committee consisting of scientists from renowned universities and research institutes,” Diamler said in a statement. Both BMW and Diamler told the publication "they were unaware that the Volkswagen used in the Albuquerque monkey tests had been set up to produce false data." Volkswagen said at the time of original story that researchers involved in the study did not publish a complete report. Since then, Volkswagen has issued an apology. “We apologize for the misconduct and the lack of judgment of individuals. We’re convinced the scientific methods chosen then were wrong. It would have been better to do without such a study in the first place,” the German automaker said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg. But there is another twist to this story. German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung reported yesterday about a study done by the University of Aachen in Germany that had 25 people breath in diesel exhaust as part of a clinic. The study was funded by the E.U.G.T. and was referenced in annual reports from the group. The University said that it "had followed typical procedures, such as approval by an independent ethics commission as well as written consent from each participant." It is unclear whether or not participants were told what the experiment would entail. Nevertheless, it is another black eye for German automakers and diesel. Source: New York Times, Bloomberg, (2), Stuttgarter Zeitung, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. Infotainment systems are one the banes of the automotive world. From confusing interfaces and controls, to issues with crashing and features not working. Add distracting drivers to this list. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety worked together with researchers at the University of Utah to measure the time it took to complete the task, and the visual and mental demand on the driver. 120 drivers were asked to perform various tasks such as operating the stereo and putting in information for navigation system using all input methods - touchscreen, physical controls, and voice commands. They would do this in 30 different vehicles on a two-mile stretch of road going 25 mph. The results are sadly not surprising. On average, it took drivers 24 seconds on average to finish many common tasks. Inputting an address in the navigation system could take more than 40 seconds. At 25 mph, that time is more than enough to travel the length of four football fields. “Some in-vehicle technology can create unsafe situations for drivers on the road by increasing the time they spend with their eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel. When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. AAA rated the 30 vehicles based on how much demand is put on a driver. None of 30 vehicles scored what AAA considers to be low demand. 11 vehicles scored high while 12 vehicles were rated at very high. “Our objective assessment indicates that many of these features are just too distracting to be enabled while the vehicle is in motion. Greater consideration should be given to what [infotainment] features and functions should be available to the driver when the vehicle is in motion rather than to what [infotainment] features and functions could be available to motorists,” the study stated. Source: AAA Press Release is on Page 2 New Vehicle Infotainment Systems Create Increased Distractions Behind the Wheel AAA Foundation study reveals in-vehicle technology takes one step forward, two steps back WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 5, 2017) – New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers’ eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch screen features were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message. Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research. With one in three U.S. adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences. AAA has conducted this new research to help automakers and system designers improve the functionality of new infotainment systems and the demand they place on drivers. “Some in-vehicle technology can create unsafe situations for drivers on the road by increasing the time they spend with their eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete.” The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to examine the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task using the infotainment systems in 30 new 2017 vehicles. Study participants were required to use voice command, touch screen and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving down the road. Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete. When driving at 25 mph, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation—all while distracted from the important task of driving. Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested. None of the 30 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while 23 systems generated high or very high levels of demand on drivers: 12 systems generated very high demand 11 systems generated high demand 7 systems generated moderate demand Overall Demand by Vehicle Low Moderate High Very High N/A Chevrolet Equinox LT Ford F250 XLT Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Lincoln MKC Premiere Toyota Camry SE Toyota Corolla SE Toyota Sienna XLE Cadillac XT5 Luxury Chevrolet Traverse LT Dodge Ram 1500 Ford Fusion Titanium Hyundai Sonata Base Infiniti Q50 Premium Jeep Compass Sport Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Kia Sorento LX Nissan Maxima SV Toyota Rav 4 XLE Audi Q7 QPP Chrysler 300 C Dodge Durango GT Ford Mustang GT GMC Yukon SLT Honda Civic Touring Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Mazda3 Touring Nissan Armada SV Subaru Crosstrek Premium Tesla Model S Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription “Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use, but many of the features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO. Frustration resulting from unsatisfactory use of these systems increases cognitive demand and increases the potential for distracted driving. “AAA has met with interested auto manufacturers and suppliers to discuss our findings. We welcome the opportunity to meet with other interested parties to discuss the report’s recommendations and ways to mitigate driver distraction,” added Doney. According to a new AAA public opinion survey, nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults say that they want the new technology in their vehicle, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly. “Some of the latest systems on the market now include functions unrelated to the core task of driving like sending text messages, checking social media or surfing the web — tasks we have no business doing behind the wheel,” continued Doney. “Automakers should aim to reduce distractions by designing systems that are no more visually or mentally demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook. And drivers should avoid the temptation to engage with these technologies, especially for non-driving tasks.” Researchers developed an advanced rating scale to measure the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demands and the time it took to complete a task experienced by drivers using each vehicle’s infotainment system. The scale ranged from low to very high levels of demand. A low level of demand equates to listening to the radio or an audiobook, while very high demand is equivalent to trying to balance a checkbook while driving. AAA believes a safe in-vehicle technology system should not exceed a low level of demand. Researchers found that most infotainment systems tested could easily be made safer by simply following clearly stated federal recommendations such as locking out text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the car is in motion. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a set of voluntary safety guidelines advising automakers to block access to tasks when vehicles are not parked. “These are solvable problems. By following NHTSA’s voluntary guidelines to lock out certain features that generate high demand while driving, automakers can significantly reduce distraction,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research. “AAA cautions drivers that just because a technology is available while driving does not mean it is safe or easy to use when behind the wheel. Drivers should only use these technologies for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes.” A total of 120 drivers ages 21-36 participated in the study of 30 new 2017 model-year vehicles. The latest report is the fifth phase of distraction research from AAA’s Center for Driving Safety and Technology. The Center was created in 2013 with the goal of studying the safety implications for how drivers interact with new vehicle technologies when behind the wheel. Visit AAA.com/distraction to learn more.
  4. Infotainment systems are one the banes of the automotive world. From confusing interfaces and controls, to issues with crashing and features not working. Add distracting drivers to this list. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety worked together with researchers at the University of Utah to measure the time it took to complete the task, and the visual and mental demand on the driver. 120 drivers were asked to perform various tasks such as operating the stereo and putting in information for navigation system using all input methods - touchscreen, physical controls, and voice commands. They would do this in 30 different vehicles on a two-mile stretch of road going 25 mph. The results are sadly not surprising. On average, it took drivers 24 seconds on average to finish many common tasks. Inputting an address in the navigation system could take more than 40 seconds. At 25 mph, that time is more than enough to travel the length of four football fields. “Some in-vehicle technology can create unsafe situations for drivers on the road by increasing the time they spend with their eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel. When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. AAA rated the 30 vehicles based on how much demand is put on a driver. None of 30 vehicles scored what AAA considers to be low demand. 11 vehicles scored high while 12 vehicles were rated at very high. “Our objective assessment indicates that many of these features are just too distracting to be enabled while the vehicle is in motion. Greater consideration should be given to what [infotainment] features and functions should be available to the driver when the vehicle is in motion rather than to what [infotainment] features and functions could be available to motorists,” the study stated. Source: AAA Press Release is on Page 2 New Vehicle Infotainment Systems Create Increased Distractions Behind the Wheel AAA Foundation study reveals in-vehicle technology takes one step forward, two steps back WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 5, 2017) – New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers’ eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch screen features were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message. Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research. With one in three U.S. adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences. AAA has conducted this new research to help automakers and system designers improve the functionality of new infotainment systems and the demand they place on drivers. “Some in-vehicle technology can create unsafe situations for drivers on the road by increasing the time they spend with their eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete.” The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to examine the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task using the infotainment systems in 30 new 2017 vehicles. Study participants were required to use voice command, touch screen and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving down the road. Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete. When driving at 25 mph, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation—all while distracted from the important task of driving. Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested. None of the 30 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while 23 systems generated high or very high levels of demand on drivers: 12 systems generated very high demand 11 systems generated high demand 7 systems generated moderate demand Overall Demand by Vehicle Low Moderate High Very High N/A Chevrolet Equinox LT Ford F250 XLT Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Lincoln MKC Premiere Toyota Camry SE Toyota Corolla SE Toyota Sienna XLE Cadillac XT5 Luxury Chevrolet Traverse LT Dodge Ram 1500 Ford Fusion Titanium Hyundai Sonata Base Infiniti Q50 Premium Jeep Compass Sport Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Kia Sorento LX Nissan Maxima SV Toyota Rav 4 XLE Audi Q7 QPP Chrysler 300 C Dodge Durango GT Ford Mustang GT GMC Yukon SLT Honda Civic Touring Honda Ridgeline RTL-E Mazda3 Touring Nissan Armada SV Subaru Crosstrek Premium Tesla Model S Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription “Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use, but many of the features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO. Frustration resulting from unsatisfactory use of these systems increases cognitive demand and increases the potential for distracted driving. “AAA has met with interested auto manufacturers and suppliers to discuss our findings. We welcome the opportunity to meet with other interested parties to discuss the report’s recommendations and ways to mitigate driver distraction,” added Doney. According to a new AAA public opinion survey, nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults say that they want the new technology in their vehicle, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly. “Some of the latest systems on the market now include functions unrelated to the core task of driving like sending text messages, checking social media or surfing the web — tasks we have no business doing behind the wheel,” continued Doney. “Automakers should aim to reduce distractions by designing systems that are no more visually or mentally demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook. And drivers should avoid the temptation to engage with these technologies, especially for non-driving tasks.” Researchers developed an advanced rating scale to measure the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demands and the time it took to complete a task experienced by drivers using each vehicle’s infotainment system. The scale ranged from low to very high levels of demand. A low level of demand equates to listening to the radio or an audiobook, while very high demand is equivalent to trying to balance a checkbook while driving. AAA believes a safe in-vehicle technology system should not exceed a low level of demand. Researchers found that most infotainment systems tested could easily be made safer by simply following clearly stated federal recommendations such as locking out text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the car is in motion. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a set of voluntary safety guidelines advising automakers to block access to tasks when vehicles are not parked. “These are solvable problems. By following NHTSA’s voluntary guidelines to lock out certain features that generate high demand while driving, automakers can significantly reduce distraction,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research. “AAA cautions drivers that just because a technology is available while driving does not mean it is safe or easy to use when behind the wheel. Drivers should only use these technologies for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes.” A total of 120 drivers ages 21-36 participated in the study of 30 new 2017 model-year vehicles. The latest report is the fifth phase of distraction research from AAA’s Center for Driving Safety and Technology. The Center was created in 2013 with the goal of studying the safety implications for how drivers interact with new vehicle technologies when behind the wheel. Visit AAA.com/distraction to learn more. View full article
  5. Automakers have been trying different technologies and ideas in an effort to boost fuel economy and reduce emissions. On paper, the new technologies do make a difference. But in the real world, it is a completely different matter. Emissions Analytics, an independent U.K.-based company has been investigating what technologies actually make a difference in reducing emissions and fuel consumption. For the past four years, the company has tested over 500 vehicles in the U.S. since 2013 in real-world driving situations. Globally, it has tested over 1,000 vehicles. Next month, the company will be releasing a study showing which of those technologies help and hurt. "You can only decide if you have the right information. The EPA sticker is — I would say — good up to a point, but we can give a lot more information," said Nick Molden, Emissions Analytics' founder and CEO. Their data shows that over four years of testing in the U.S., there is "no actual improvement in overall fuel economy and no decrease in CO2 emissions," despite new technologies and complex powertrains. EA's data also revealed that downsized turbo engines show huge discrepancies between the EPA's findings and the real world. In the lab, the engines aren't put under stress and can produce high fuel economy figures. But it is a different story out in the real world when the turbos are engaged to keep up with traffic and becomes less efficient than a non-turbocharged engine. "Downsizing is a good thing up to a point. You go past a certain inflection point and actually you can find that the real-world mpg will actually get worse if you go too small," said Molden. "As soon as you start going below 2 liters, that's where we start seeing the gaps open up between EPA sticker and real world." The study did deliver some good news for hybrids. EA found traditional hybrid vehicle provided high fuel economy figures and reduced emissions. Other technologies such as multispeed transmissions, adding lightness, and picking the right tires provide a meaningful impact. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  6. Automakers have been trying different technologies and ideas in an effort to boost fuel economy and reduce emissions. On paper, the new technologies do make a difference. But in the real world, it is a completely different matter. Emissions Analytics, an independent U.K.-based company has been investigating what technologies actually make a difference in reducing emissions and fuel consumption. For the past four years, the company has tested over 500 vehicles in the U.S. since 2013 in real-world driving situations. Globally, it has tested over 1,000 vehicles. Next month, the company will be releasing a study showing which of those technologies help and hurt. "You can only decide if you have the right information. The EPA sticker is — I would say — good up to a point, but we can give a lot more information," said Nick Molden, Emissions Analytics' founder and CEO. Their data shows that over four years of testing in the U.S., there is "no actual improvement in overall fuel economy and no decrease in CO2 emissions," despite new technologies and complex powertrains. EA's data also revealed that downsized turbo engines show huge discrepancies between the EPA's findings and the real world. In the lab, the engines aren't put under stress and can produce high fuel economy figures. But it is a different story out in the real world when the turbos are engaged to keep up with traffic and becomes less efficient than a non-turbocharged engine. "Downsizing is a good thing up to a point. You go past a certain inflection point and actually you can find that the real-world mpg will actually get worse if you go too small," said Molden. "As soon as you start going below 2 liters, that's where we start seeing the gaps open up between EPA sticker and real world." The study did deliver some good news for hybrids. EA found traditional hybrid vehicle provided high fuel economy figures and reduced emissions. Other technologies such as multispeed transmissions, adding lightness, and picking the right tires provide a meaningful impact. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  7. J.D. Power has announced the results of their inaugural Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study. The study focused on the experience of owners with a vehicle's technology features such as infotainment and safety during the first 90 days. The good news is the average satisfaction score was 730 out of a possible 1,000 points. But owners aren't impressed with their vehicle's navigation system. It earned the lowest average score of 687 in the study. More than half of the owners surveyed said they never even used the system, using the navigation function on their phones. Nearly a third who said they used the navigation system only used it for two weeks before resorting to their phones, citing issues with entering a new destination. Voice commands was also a pain point for many owners as the system didn't understand the commands and have to be repeated multiple times. “For any technology in a vehicle, it’s critical that the owners want it, are aware they have it and know how to use it. It is alarming how many technologies consumers have in their vehicle but aren’t using because they don’t know they have them or don’t know how to use them. Both of these knowledge gaps have long-term implications for future demand,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. On the flipside, owners really like collision avoidance technologies. Such features as a backup camera, blind spot warning, and lane keep assist earned the highest average score in the study of 754. Also, 96 percent of owners who have these safety features in their current vehicle want to have them in their next vehicle. Source: J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 Safety Technologies Have Highest Satisfaction; Navigation Lags DETROIT: 10 Oct. 2016 — BMW and Hyundai each have two models that rank highest in overall customer experience with vehicle technology in their respective segment, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study,SM released today. The inaugural study measures a vehicle owner’s experiences, usage and interaction with driver-centric vehicle technology at 90 days of ownership. The major technology categories analyzed in the study include collision protection; comfort and convenience; driving assistance; entertainment and connectivity; navigation; and smartphone mirroring. BMW models that rank highest in their segment1 are the 2 Series (small premium segment) and 4 Series (compact premium segment), while the Hyundai models that rank highest are the Genesis (midsize premium segment) and Tucson (small segment). Model-level rankings and awards include 2016 model-year vehicles that were all new or redesigned within the past three years. Other models that rank highest in their segment are the Chevrolet Camaro (midsize segment); Kia Forte (compact segment); and Nissan Maxima (large segment). Safety Technologies Reign Among the vast array of technologies available in new vehicles, those that assist with collision avoidance have the highest usage and the highest overall satisfaction. Additionally, they are the technologies owners most want in their next vehicle, according to the study. Collision avoidance technologies—such as blind spot warning and detection, lane-keeping/centering and back-up camera/warning systems—are collectively part of the collision protection category, which has the highest overall satisfaction among the five groups of technologies included in the study index scores, with a score of 754 on a 1,000-point scale. In contrast, owners are least satisfied with their navigation systems (687). “For any technology in a vehicle, it’s critical that the owners want it, are aware they have it and know how to use it,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. “It is alarming how many technologies consumers have in their vehicle but aren’t using because they don’t know they have them or don’t know how to use them. Both of these knowledge gaps have long-term implications for future demand.” Back-up camera/warning and blind spot warning and detection are the most often used technologies, with at least three-fourths of owners saying they use the technology every time they drive. Additionally, they are the most in-demand technologies, with 96% of current owners of the technologies saying they want each of the features in their next car. Other industries beyond automotive are keeping a close eye on in-vehicle technologies. For example, the insurance industry is closely tracking the use of safety-related technologies that, while potentially increasing claims costs when a vehicle is damaged, also help prevent or mitigate collisions and protect occupants when there is an accident. Auto insurers have been slow to add discounts for newer safe driver technologies, but that is beginning to change. Liberty Mutual Insurance offers a vehicle safety discount for teens driving a vehicle equipped with safety features, such as a lane departure warning system; adaptive cruise control; and collision preparation systems.2 “As auto insurers begin to offer discounts for vehicle safety features, this may help raise consumer awareness that they actually have these technologies and the knowledge to use them properly,” said Jessica McGregor, director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. The Role of the Dealer Even if owners are aware they have an in-vehicle technology doesn’t mean they will use it. Among owners who say they never use a specific technology, 39% indicate they bring another device into their vehicle to replace certain technologies that are already present. Of those who bring in another device, navigation is the feature most often replaced. Furthermore, 57% of owners who bring in another device say they never used the in-vehicle equipment before bringing this outside device into the car to replace the vehicle’s features. Of the 43% who have used it, 56% stop using it within the first month. “The dealer plays a critical role in whether or not a technology is used,” said Kolodge. “When the dealer takes the time to explain the technology or provide a demonstration, it not only makes the owner aware they have the technology, but also helps them understand how to use it, which means they are more likely to use it, continue to use it and, because they see the value, want it in their next vehicle.” Among owners who learn how to operate the technologies from their dealer, overall satisfaction is 25-54 points higher, compared with those who learn how to operate the technologies from another source or from prior experience. Technologies that owners say are difficult to use (DTU) put a strain on satisfaction. Across all technologies, there is an average 98-point drop in satisfaction when owners have DTU issues. DTU problems not only deteriorate satisfaction, but they also affect the vehicle’s quality. Even though it may operate as intended, when a technology is difficult for an owner to use or understand, it is likely to be considered a quality issue. For example, navigation system difficult to use/poor location is the sixth most common problem in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). Owners who learn how to use their navigation system from the dealer report 2.0 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) fewer navigation DTU problems than those who do not get a dealer explanation. “By taking the time to show the technology to the new owner, the dealer can mitigate DTU issues, improving both satisfaction and quality,” said Kolodge. “The navigation system is just one area. If the dealer explains all or many of the technologies to the new owner, it can have a dramatic positive effect on the ownership experience.” Gap between Premium and Non-Premium Is Narrow Overall owner satisfaction with new-vehicle technology averages 730. Satisfaction among premium vehicle owners is slightly higher at 734, compared with 730 among non-premium owners. Overall satisfaction varies greatly by segment. Satisfaction is highest in the large segment (755), followed by the small premium segment (735); compact premium segment (732); midsize premium segment (731); compact segment (727); midsize segment (725); and the small segment (706). “It’s not just how much technology you have in the vehicle, but how well it’s delivered,” said Kolodge. “The technology’s usability and how well it is integrated into the vehicle are critical—that has to be done right.” The 2016 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study is based on a survey of 17,864 vehicle owners and lessees. Awards are based solely on responses from the 13,269 consumers who purchased or leased a new 2016 model-year vehicle in the previous 90 days that has been considered an all-new or redesigned vehicle within in the past three years. The study was fielded from February through August 2016.
  8. J.D. Power has announced the results of their inaugural Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study. The study focused on the experience of owners with a vehicle's technology features such as infotainment and safety during the first 90 days. The good news is the average satisfaction score was 730 out of a possible 1,000 points. But owners aren't impressed with their vehicle's navigation system. It earned the lowest average score of 687 in the study. More than half of the owners surveyed said they never even used the system, using the navigation function on their phones. Nearly a third who said they used the navigation system only used it for two weeks before resorting to their phones, citing issues with entering a new destination. Voice commands was also a pain point for many owners as the system didn't understand the commands and have to be repeated multiple times. “For any technology in a vehicle, it’s critical that the owners want it, are aware they have it and know how to use it. It is alarming how many technologies consumers have in their vehicle but aren’t using because they don’t know they have them or don’t know how to use them. Both of these knowledge gaps have long-term implications for future demand,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. On the flipside, owners really like collision avoidance technologies. Such features as a backup camera, blind spot warning, and lane keep assist earned the highest average score in the study of 754. Also, 96 percent of owners who have these safety features in their current vehicle want to have them in their next vehicle. Source: J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 Safety Technologies Have Highest Satisfaction; Navigation Lags DETROIT: 10 Oct. 2016 — BMW and Hyundai each have two models that rank highest in overall customer experience with vehicle technology in their respective segment, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study,SM released today. The inaugural study measures a vehicle owner’s experiences, usage and interaction with driver-centric vehicle technology at 90 days of ownership. The major technology categories analyzed in the study include collision protection; comfort and convenience; driving assistance; entertainment and connectivity; navigation; and smartphone mirroring. BMW models that rank highest in their segment1 are the 2 Series (small premium segment) and 4 Series (compact premium segment), while the Hyundai models that rank highest are the Genesis (midsize premium segment) and Tucson (small segment). Model-level rankings and awards include 2016 model-year vehicles that were all new or redesigned within the past three years. Other models that rank highest in their segment are the Chevrolet Camaro (midsize segment); Kia Forte (compact segment); and Nissan Maxima (large segment). Safety Technologies Reign Among the vast array of technologies available in new vehicles, those that assist with collision avoidance have the highest usage and the highest overall satisfaction. Additionally, they are the technologies owners most want in their next vehicle, according to the study. Collision avoidance technologies—such as blind spot warning and detection, lane-keeping/centering and back-up camera/warning systems—are collectively part of the collision protection category, which has the highest overall satisfaction among the five groups of technologies included in the study index scores, with a score of 754 on a 1,000-point scale. In contrast, owners are least satisfied with their navigation systems (687). “For any technology in a vehicle, it’s critical that the owners want it, are aware they have it and know how to use it,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. “It is alarming how many technologies consumers have in their vehicle but aren’t using because they don’t know they have them or don’t know how to use them. Both of these knowledge gaps have long-term implications for future demand.” Back-up camera/warning and blind spot warning and detection are the most often used technologies, with at least three-fourths of owners saying they use the technology every time they drive. Additionally, they are the most in-demand technologies, with 96% of current owners of the technologies saying they want each of the features in their next car. Other industries beyond automotive are keeping a close eye on in-vehicle technologies. For example, the insurance industry is closely tracking the use of safety-related technologies that, while potentially increasing claims costs when a vehicle is damaged, also help prevent or mitigate collisions and protect occupants when there is an accident. Auto insurers have been slow to add discounts for newer safe driver technologies, but that is beginning to change. Liberty Mutual Insurance offers a vehicle safety discount for teens driving a vehicle equipped with safety features, such as a lane departure warning system; adaptive cruise control; and collision preparation systems.2 “As auto insurers begin to offer discounts for vehicle safety features, this may help raise consumer awareness that they actually have these technologies and the knowledge to use them properly,” said Jessica McGregor, director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. The Role of the Dealer Even if owners are aware they have an in-vehicle technology doesn’t mean they will use it. Among owners who say they never use a specific technology, 39% indicate they bring another device into their vehicle to replace certain technologies that are already present. Of those who bring in another device, navigation is the feature most often replaced. Furthermore, 57% of owners who bring in another device say they never used the in-vehicle equipment before bringing this outside device into the car to replace the vehicle’s features. Of the 43% who have used it, 56% stop using it within the first month. “The dealer plays a critical role in whether or not a technology is used,” said Kolodge. “When the dealer takes the time to explain the technology or provide a demonstration, it not only makes the owner aware they have the technology, but also helps them understand how to use it, which means they are more likely to use it, continue to use it and, because they see the value, want it in their next vehicle.” Among owners who learn how to operate the technologies from their dealer, overall satisfaction is 25-54 points higher, compared with those who learn how to operate the technologies from another source or from prior experience. Technologies that owners say are difficult to use (DTU) put a strain on satisfaction. Across all technologies, there is an average 98-point drop in satisfaction when owners have DTU issues. DTU problems not only deteriorate satisfaction, but they also affect the vehicle’s quality. Even though it may operate as intended, when a technology is difficult for an owner to use or understand, it is likely to be considered a quality issue. For example, navigation system difficult to use/poor location is the sixth most common problem in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). Owners who learn how to use their navigation system from the dealer report 2.0 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) fewer navigation DTU problems than those who do not get a dealer explanation. “By taking the time to show the technology to the new owner, the dealer can mitigate DTU issues, improving both satisfaction and quality,” said Kolodge. “The navigation system is just one area. If the dealer explains all or many of the technologies to the new owner, it can have a dramatic positive effect on the ownership experience.” Gap between Premium and Non-Premium Is Narrow Overall owner satisfaction with new-vehicle technology averages 730. Satisfaction among premium vehicle owners is slightly higher at 734, compared with 730 among non-premium owners. Overall satisfaction varies greatly by segment. Satisfaction is highest in the large segment (755), followed by the small premium segment (735); compact premium segment (732); midsize premium segment (731); compact segment (727); midsize segment (725); and the small segment (706). “It’s not just how much technology you have in the vehicle, but how well it’s delivered,” said Kolodge. “The technology’s usability and how well it is integrated into the vehicle are critical—that has to be done right.” The 2016 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study is based on a survey of 17,864 vehicle owners and lessees. Awards are based solely on responses from the 13,269 consumers who purchased or leased a new 2016 model-year vehicle in the previous 90 days that has been considered an all-new or redesigned vehicle within in the past three years. The study was fielded from February through August 2016. View full article
  9. 'Autonomous Emergency Braking' (AEB) and the various names this system goes under have the same goal; to bring the vehicle to a stop if the driver doesn't fails to engage the brakes. But a new study done by AAA reveals not all systems are equal and a very worrying trend concerning a consumer's belief in the system. There are two types of emergency braking systems, ones that are designed to bring the vehicle to stop to avoid a crash and ones that reduce speed to limit the severity of a crash. Unsurprisingly, AAA's tests showed that systems designed to avoid a crash did a better job than systems designed to limit the crash damage. At speeds under 30 mph, systems designed to avoid crashes were successful about 60 percent of the time. Systems designed to limit damage had a success rate of 33 percent. Increase speed to 45 mph and the systems designed to avoid a crash had a success rate of 74 percent. The systems designed to limit damage were successful 9 percent of the time. AAA also surveyed Americans familiar with the technology and it revealed something very troubling. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe autonomous emergency braking systems will totally avoid a crash without driver intervention. “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention. The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair in a statement. This is important as 22 different automakers have agreed to make this technology standard on all of their models by 2022. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have this system as standard while more than 50 percent of new vehicles have it as an option. AAA recommends that if you're looking at a vehicle with an AEB system to make sure what system you'll have. It will make a difference when it comes to avoiding a crash. Source: AAA Press Release is on Page 2 Hit The Brakes: Not All Self-Braking Cars Designed to Stop AAA Tests Reveal Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Vary Significantly ORLANDO, Fla (August 24, 2016) – New test results from AAA reveal that automatic emergency braking systems — the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles — vary widely in design and performance. All the systems tested by AAA are designed to apply the brakes when a driver fails to engage, however, those that are designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by nearly twice that of those designed to lessen crash severity. While any reduction in speed offers a significant safety benefit to drivers, AAA warns that automatic braking systems are not all designed to prevent collisions and urges consumers to fully understand system limitations before getting behind the wheel. “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.” In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated five 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems for performance within system limitations and in real-world driving scenarios that were designed to push the technology’s limits. Systems were tested and compared based on the capabilities and limitations stated in the owner’s manuals and grouped into two categories — those designed to slow or stop the vehicle enough to prevent crashes, and those designed to slow the vehicle to lessen crash severity. After more than 70 trials, tests reveal: In terms of overall speed reduction, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems that are designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction vs. 40 percent speed reduction). With speed differentials of under 30 mph, systems designed to prevent crashes successfully avoided collisions in 60 percent of test scenarios. Surprisingly, the systems designed to only lessen crash severity were able to completely avoid crashes in nearly one-third (33 percent) of test scenarios. When pushed beyond stated system limitations and proposed federal requirements, the variation among systems became more pronounced. When traveling at 45 mph and approaching a static vehicle, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speeds by 74 percent overall and avoided crashes in 40 percent of scenarios. In contrast, systems designed to lessen crash severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent overall. “Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “When traveling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50 percent.” In addition to the independent testing, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand consumer purchase habits and trust of automatic emergency braking systems. Results reveal: Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have automatic emergency braking on their vehicle. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking on their next vehicle. Men are more likely to want an automatic emergency braking system in their next vehicle (42 percent) than female drivers (35 percent). Two out of five U.S. drivers trust automatic emergency braking to work. Drivers who currently own a vehicle equipped with automatic emergency braking system are more likely to trust it to work (71 percent) compared to drivers that have not experienced the technology (41 percent). “When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” continued Nielsen. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before driving off the dealer lot.” For its potential to reduce crash severity, 22 automakers representing 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new vehicles by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation said this voluntary agreement will make the safety feature available on new cars up to three years sooner than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to mitigate, result in nearly 2,000 fatalities and more than 500,000 injuries annually. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and more than half of new vehicles offer the feature as an option.
  10. 'Autonomous Emergency Braking' (AEB) and the various names this system goes under have the same goal; to bring the vehicle to a stop if the driver doesn't fails to engage the brakes. But a new study done by AAA reveals not all systems are equal and a very worrying trend concerning a consumer's belief in the system. There are two types of emergency braking systems, ones that are designed to bring the vehicle to stop to avoid a crash and ones that reduce speed to limit the severity of a crash. Unsurprisingly, AAA's tests showed that systems designed to avoid a crash did a better job than systems designed to limit the crash damage. At speeds under 30 mph, systems designed to avoid crashes were successful about 60 percent of the time. Systems designed to limit damage had a success rate of 33 percent. Increase speed to 45 mph and the systems designed to avoid a crash had a success rate of 74 percent. The systems designed to limit damage were successful 9 percent of the time. AAA also surveyed Americans familiar with the technology and it revealed something very troubling. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe autonomous emergency braking systems will totally avoid a crash without driver intervention. “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention. The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair in a statement. This is important as 22 different automakers have agreed to make this technology standard on all of their models by 2022. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have this system as standard while more than 50 percent of new vehicles have it as an option. AAA recommends that if you're looking at a vehicle with an AEB system to make sure what system you'll have. It will make a difference when it comes to avoiding a crash. Source: AAA Press Release is on Page 2 Hit The Brakes: Not All Self-Braking Cars Designed to Stop AAA Tests Reveal Automatic Emergency Braking Systems Vary Significantly ORLANDO, Fla (August 24, 2016) – New test results from AAA reveal that automatic emergency braking systems — the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles — vary widely in design and performance. All the systems tested by AAA are designed to apply the brakes when a driver fails to engage, however, those that are designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by nearly twice that of those designed to lessen crash severity. While any reduction in speed offers a significant safety benefit to drivers, AAA warns that automatic braking systems are not all designed to prevent collisions and urges consumers to fully understand system limitations before getting behind the wheel. “AAA found that two-thirds of Americans familiar with the technology believe that automatic emergency braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “The reality is that today’s systems vary greatly in performance, and many are not designed to stop a moving car.” In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated five 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems for performance within system limitations and in real-world driving scenarios that were designed to push the technology’s limits. Systems were tested and compared based on the capabilities and limitations stated in the owner’s manuals and grouped into two categories — those designed to slow or stop the vehicle enough to prevent crashes, and those designed to slow the vehicle to lessen crash severity. After more than 70 trials, tests reveal: In terms of overall speed reduction, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems that are designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction vs. 40 percent speed reduction). With speed differentials of under 30 mph, systems designed to prevent crashes successfully avoided collisions in 60 percent of test scenarios. Surprisingly, the systems designed to only lessen crash severity were able to completely avoid crashes in nearly one-third (33 percent) of test scenarios. When pushed beyond stated system limitations and proposed federal requirements, the variation among systems became more pronounced. When traveling at 45 mph and approaching a static vehicle, the systems designed to prevent crashes reduced speeds by 74 percent overall and avoided crashes in 40 percent of scenarios. In contrast, systems designed to lessen crash severity were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent overall. “Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “When traveling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50 percent.” In addition to the independent testing, AAA surveyed U.S. drivers to understand consumer purchase habits and trust of automatic emergency braking systems. Results reveal: Nine percent of U.S. drivers currently have automatic emergency braking on their vehicle. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. drivers want automatic emergency braking on their next vehicle. Men are more likely to want an automatic emergency braking system in their next vehicle (42 percent) than female drivers (35 percent). Two out of five U.S. drivers trust automatic emergency braking to work. Drivers who currently own a vehicle equipped with automatic emergency braking system are more likely to trust it to work (71 percent) compared to drivers that have not experienced the technology (41 percent). “When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” continued Nielsen. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before driving off the dealer lot.” For its potential to reduce crash severity, 22 automakers representing 99 percent of vehicle sales have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new vehicles by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation said this voluntary agreement will make the safety feature available on new cars up to three years sooner than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions, which automatic emergency braking systems are designed to mitigate, result in nearly 2,000 fatalities and more than 500,000 injuries annually. Currently, 10 percent of new vehicles have automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and more than half of new vehicles offer the feature as an option. View full article
  11. Back in June, we learned that Skoda (a Czech brand under the Volkswagen group) was investigating possibly entering new markets. One of those new markets was North America, a place where 20 percent of global car sales take place. At the time our original report, Skoda hasn't set a timeframe for a decision. Also as we noted, Skoda would need to get more crossovers and SUVs ready if they want to try and make inroads in the U.S. Speaking of SUVs and the U.S., a recent article done by Autocar piqued our interest. Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said if they were to launch the brand in the U.S. in the near future, they would have their upcoming seven-seat Kodiaq leading the charge. “If we do decide to compete in the US, we will have one chance to make a good first impression. We feel that if we were there now, the Kodiaq would be a home-run car,” said Maier. Maier did stress that the U.S. isn't on Skoda's immediate radar. At the moment, the brand is looking closely at Iran, Singapore, and South Korea as possible new markets. But Maier isn't saying the U.S. isn't on their radar at all. “America is the one that we don't currently compete in with the biggest potential.” Skoda appears to have taken a page out of PSA Peugeot Citroën's playbook. Autocar says the automaker has begun a feasibility study as to whether or not it makes sense to enter the U.S. Source: Autocar
  12. The good news is that consumers are visiting the gas station less. The bad news is that consumers are spending more at the pump. Wait, those two sentences contradict each other. Which one is true? According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), both of these sentences are correct. Let us explain. As new fuel economy and emission regulations come into effect, automakers are trying to figure out ways to make that gallon of gas go farther. One method that a number of automakers are using is turbochargers. They allow automakers to use smaller displacement engines to improve fuel economy and retain the power of larger engines. The EIA says the market share of turbo engines has climbed from 3.3 percent in 2009 to 17.6 percent in 2014. But the problem is that many turbo engines require premium fuel to operate at their full potential, which costs more than regular and midgrade fuel. Yes, you can fill them with regular and not have the issue of knock - premature fuel detonation due to increased cylinder pressure. But you lose some of the power that the turbo is providing. The EIA says that only 12.5 percent of vehicles recommended premium fuel in 2010. This increased to 14.2 percent in 2013. With turbo engines projected to be in 83.3 percent of new vehicles by 2025, expect to pay more at the pump despite going there less. Source: Energy Information Administration
  13. With the rise of services of car and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, a number of people have said this would begin the downfall of buying and owning a new vehicle in the U.S. But a new study commissioned by Kelly Blue Book says that isn't happening for the majority of the country. The study revealed many Americans consider vehicle ownership to be more convenient, reliable, safer than car- and ride-sharing services. It also revealed that 76 percent of respondents that use these services are planning to buy or lease a vehicle within the next two years. "While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveals that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. Other findings of KBB's study include, 73 percent of respondents said they have heard of these ride-sharing services, but only 16 percent have used them. This is similar to car sharing services as 43 percent said they have heard of them, but only 7 percent have taken advantage.Most of the respondents using these services are young people living in urban environments. This makes sense as owning a vehicle in this environment is more of a pain. Car and Ride sharing services are seen more as substitutes for taxis and rental cars. Affordability was the top reason given respondents who don't own a car.Only 5 percent said using a ride-sharing service was the reason they don't own a car. 3 percent said gave the same reason for why they use car sharing services. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Kelly Blue Book Press Release is on Page 2 Page 1 of 2 1 2 → Last » Click here to view the article
  14. With the rise of services of car and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, a number of people have said this would begin the downfall of buying and owning a new vehicle in the U.S. But a new study commissioned by Kelly Blue Book says that isn't happening for the majority of the country. The study revealed many Americans consider vehicle ownership to be more convenient, reliable, safer than car- and ride-sharing services. It also revealed that 76 percent of respondents that use these services are planning to buy or lease a vehicle within the next two years. "While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveals that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. Other findings of KBB's study include, 73 percent of respondents said they have heard of these ride-sharing services, but only 16 percent have used them. This is similar to car sharing services as 43 percent said they have heard of them, but only 7 percent have taken advantage.Most of the respondents using these services are young people living in urban environments. This makes sense as owning a vehicle in this environment is more of a pain. [*]Car and Ride sharing services are seen more as substitutes for taxis and rental cars. [*]Affordability was the top reason given respondents who don't own a car. Only 5 percent said using a ride-sharing service was the reason they don't own a car. 3 percent said gave the same reason for why they use car sharing services. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Kelly Blue Book Press Release is on Page 2 Kelley Blue Book Study Reveals Ride-Sharing, Car-Sharing Services Do Not Pose Threat To Car Buying KBB.com Finds Americans Not Ready to Give Up Freedom Associated with Vehicle Ownership IRVINE, Calif., March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The results are in, and according to Kelley Blue Book, ride- and car-sharing is not an imminent threat to new-car buying and vehicle ownership, despite the growing number of services being offered to consumers. This is just one of many interesting findings from the recent 2016 Kelley Blue Book Ride Sharing/Car Sharing Study, released today by KBB.com, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Commissioned by Kelley Blue Book and conducted by Vital Findings to understand the motivations behind ride-sharing and car-sharing usage, as well as opinions and behaviors surrounding current and future transportation, the survey found that these sharing platforms primarily are used as substitutes for taxis and traditional rental car companies, and have very limited impact on current or future vehicle ownership. In fact, the expected transportation method of the majority of Americans that currently own or have access to a vehicle (74 percent) is to drive themselves in the next six months. When asked what statements about owning or leasing a vehicle respondents agree with, 80 percent completely or somewhat agreed that owning or leasing a vehicle provides a sense of freedom and independence, followed by 62 percent that completely or somewhat agreed that owning or leasing a vehicle gives you a sense of pride/success. Ride-sharing services, including Uber and Lyft, among others, use a Smartphone app for consumers to request and pay for a ride on demand from drivers who typically own the cars they drive. On the other hand, car-sharing companies, such as Getaround, ZipCar and Car2Go, among others, provide consumers with the opportunity to borrow vehicles and drive themselves, using a Smartphone app to schedule, unlock and pay for borrowed vehicles. "Ride- and car-sharing services are getting a lot of attention these days, and we wanted to better understand the current landscape of these app-fueled platforms and how they may impact both consumers and the auto industry moving forward," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveals that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors." Looking down the road, the field is relatively level for potential ride-sharing providers to enter the market with more than one-third of respondents (37 percent) giving the most consideration to companies with a ride-sharing app, followed closely by rental car companies (32 percent) and taxi/limo companies (26 percent). In addition, 24 percent of those surveyed also would consider vehicle dealerships as a potential ride-sharing provider over vehicle manufacturers (16 percent) and individuals with a vehicle (15 percent). Respondents were least likely (14 percent) to consider tech companies as potential ride-sharing providers. Similar to ride-sharing, the opportunity for new car-sharing services to enter the market is fairly level, as traditional vehicle rental companies (36 percent), companies specifically created to provide vehicle sharing (33 percent), and notably, vehicle dealerships (31 percent) were among the most considered car-sharing providers among respondents. Sample of Additional Findings from 2016 Kelley Blue Book Ride Sharing/Car Sharing Study Awareness Doesn't Mean Use: Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) are aware of ride sharing, but only 16 percent have actually used these services, with Millennials and city dwellers leading usage. As for car sharing, 43 percent of respondents are aware, but only 7 percent use these services. Still Planning to Buy or Lease: Vehicle-sharing services are viewed as substitutes for taxis (41 percent) and rental cars (39 percent), with more than three-quarters (76 percent) of vehicle-sharing users reporting their intent to purchase or lease their own vehicle within the next two years. Ownership Has Its Benefits: According to respondents, vehicle ownership is more reliable (81 percent vs. 19 percent for ride sharing; 78 percent vs. 22 percent for car sharing), safer (80 percent vs. 20 percent for ride sharing; 80 percent vs. 20 percent for car sharing) and more convenient (74 percent vs. 26 percent for ride sharing; 75 percent vs. 25 percent for car sharing) than depending on sharing services. Budget Is Primary Ownership Factor: Among those surveyed who did not currently own or lease a vehicle, more than half of respondents (57 percent) name affordability, which also was the highest listed reason, as the main deterrent for not purchasing or leasing their own vehicles. Only 5 percent said utilizing ride sharing and 3 percent said utilizing car sharing as reasons for not owning a vehicle in the future. Safety First: More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) believe that ride-sharing services are a great way to combat drunk driving; however, only 33 percent of those surveyed deemed ride-sharing to be safe. In fact, 48 percent stated they wouldn't be comfortable riding alone with a ride-share driver. The national survey reveals the responses from more than 1,900 U.S. residents between the ages of 18-64 years old, weighted to Census figures by age, gender and ethnicity that have a variety of residential and ownership patterns.
  15. Automakers are leveraging new technologies such as automatic parking systems, concierge services, and mobile internet to bring people into showrooms. But a new study done by J.D. Power reveals that a number of owners aren't using it. J.D. Power published today the 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report, a new study which looks at 33 tech features in vehicles and ask owners if they have ever used them. According to the report, at least 20 percent of owners have never used 16 out of the 33 features (about 48.4 percent). The top five features that owners said they never use includes, In-Vehicle Concierge Services - 43% Mobile Routers - 38% Automatic Parking Systems - 35% Heads-Up Display - 33% Built-In Apps - 32% So why do owners not use these features? A key part comes down to dealers not explaining the features, which in turn causes an increase of an owner not using it. Also, the report says that if a feature isn't activated when a vehicle is delivered, it sometimes mean an owner doesn't know it exists. “The first 30 days are critical. That first-time experience with the technology is the make-it-or-break-it stage. Automakers need to get it right the first time, or owners will simply use their own mobile device instead of the in-vehicle technology,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 Automakers Spending Billions on Technologies That Many Consumers Don’t Use Built-in Connectivity among Least Used Technologies, Creating Lost Value WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 25 August 2015 — Automakers are investing billions of dollars to put technologies in their cars and light trucks that are not being used by many of the owners of those vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report.SM The 2015 DrIVE Report measures driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership. The report finds that at least 20 percent of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured. The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); head-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%). There are 14 technology features that 20 percent or more of owners do not want in their next vehicle, including Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. Among Gen Y[1], the number of features unwanted by at least 20 percent of owners increases to 23, specifically technologies related to entertainment and connectivity systems. “In many cases, owners simply prefer to use their smartphone or tablet because it meets their needs; they’re familiar with the device and it’s accurate,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. “In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers.” Among all owners, the most frequently cited reasons for not wanting a specific technology feature in their next vehicle are “did not find it useful” in their current vehicle and the technology “came as part of a package on my current vehicle and I did not want it.” In addition, owners who say their dealer did not explain the feature have a higher likelihood of never using the technology. Furthermore, features that are not activated when the vehicle is delivered often result in the owner not even knowing they have the technology in their new vehicle. Kolodge noted that the technologies owners most often want are those that enhance the driving experience and safety, which are only available as a built-in feature rather than via an external device. In-vehicle technologies that most owners do want include vehicle health diagnostics, blind-spot warning and detection, and adaptive cruise control. “The first 30 days are critical. That first-time experience with the technology is the make-it-or-break-it stage,” said Kolodge. “Automakers need to get it right the first time, or owners will simply use their own mobile device instead of the in-vehicle technology.” Because the first few weeks of ownership are so critical, dealerships play the most important role in helping owners get off to a good start with the technology in their vehicle, Kolodge noted. “While dealers are expected to play a key role in explaining the technology to consumers, the onus should be on automakers to design the technology to be intuitive for consumers,” said Kolodge. “Automakers also need to explain the technology to dealership staff and train them on how to demonstrate it to owners.” Safety and Repair Costs Use of in-vehicle technologies has implications beyond the auto industry. For example, the insurance industry is closely tracking automotive technology for safety and financial purposes. Insurers are concerned that difficult-to-use technology may distract drivers and cause an accident. Using smartphones instead of in-vehicle technology also creates safety issues. Additionally, in-vehicle technology can significantly increase claims costs for vehicles damaged in an accident. “While some technologies, such as lane-departure warning, are making vehicles safer, the insurance industry is very concerned about the driver-distraction hazards caused by some of the other technologies,” said Chip Lackey, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. “In addition, technology drives up the repair and replacement costs. A slight bumper scrape that would normally cost a few hundred dollars to repair can catapult a claim into thousands of dollars when a park assist camera or other sensors are damaged.” The 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report is based on responses from more than 4,200 vehicle owners and lessees after 90 days of ownership. The report was fielded in April through June 2015.
  16. What is the big problem with new cars? According to a new survey, it happens to be the infotainment systems. A study done by automotive consultants SBD and polling firm Nielsen asked some 14,000 owners about features in their cars and asked which ones were the best and the worst. The ten that scored the lowest in the survey were all related in some form to the infotainment system. These included smart phone integration, built-in apps, customizable instrument panels, and voice recognition. “It’s sort of an arms race -- who can have the most technology in the vehicle -- and consumers are confused,” said Nielsen Vice President Mike Chadsey at a connected-car symposium yesterday. The study also showed that 43 percent of participants said automakers are adding too much infotainment tech. So why are automakers adding all of this tech? Andrew Hart, director of SBD explained that automakers add all sorts of tech to draw in customers and to help boost revenue. But this might backfire as owners might go to another brand because of how bad the infotainment system was. If you to improve the chances of owner sticking with your brand, just get the infotainment right, getting the right set of features that people actually want to use and making them easy to use,” said Hart. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Click here to view the article
  17. What is the big problem with new cars? According to a new survey, it happens to be the infotainment systems. A study done by automotive consultants SBD and polling firm Nielsen asked some 14,000 owners about features in their cars and asked which ones were the best and the worst. The ten that scored the lowest in the survey were all related in some form to the infotainment system. These included smart phone integration, built-in apps, customizable instrument panels, and voice recognition. “It’s sort of an arms race -- who can have the most technology in the vehicle -- and consumers are confused,” said Nielsen Vice President Mike Chadsey at a connected-car symposium yesterday. The study also showed that 43 percent of participants said automakers are adding too much infotainment tech. So why are automakers adding all of this tech? Andrew Hart, director of SBD explained that automakers add all sorts of tech to draw in customers and to help boost revenue. But this might backfire as owners might go to another brand because of how bad the infotainment system was. If you to improve the chances of owner sticking with your brand, just get the infotainment right, getting the right set of features that people actually want to use and making them easy to use,” said Hart. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  18. While Americans are keeping their cars longer (Experian Automotive says the average ownership length is now 7.75 years), there are some models that owners can't wait to get rid off within a year of buying. iSeeCars.com recently compared new car sales against used-car purchases in 2014 to figure out which vehicles were traded-in the fastest. Their analysis showed that on average, around 2.7 percent of all new vehicles are traded in after only a year’s ownership. More surprising was the vehicles that had the highest amount of trade-ins. The expectation would be that the vehicles with the highest amount of trade-ins would be cheap. Not so fast. iSeeCars.com in their analysis the vehicles with highest trade-ins range from $18,000 to $45,000. “iSeeCars.com analysts think the fact that consumers are giving more of these cars up than the average is directly linked to quality or perceived quality of the cars,” says Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com. “Because purchasing a new car is expensive and something most people tend to spend a lot of time on, it stands to reason they would make a change shortly afterward if they felt the quality was lacking.” Here's the list of the vehicles with the highest trade-in amounts, Buick Regal - 10.7 Percent Traded-In Chevrolet Sonic - 8.9 Percent Traded-In BMW X1 - 7.8 Percent Traded-In Dodge Charger - 7.7 Percent Traded-In Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 7.4 Percent Traded-In Chevrolet Cruze - 7.2 Percent Traded-In Nissan Frontier - 6.9 Percent Traded-In Source: Forbes
  19. The past few years in the automotive industry has seen an explosion in technologies - whether its dealing improving the overall safety of a vehicle or figuring out a way to hook up your smartphone. Some of the tech makes the driving experience better, while others don't. So what do consumers think about the new technologies coming into vehicles? J.D. Power decided to find out. In their 2015 US Tech Choice Study, the company asked 5,300 consumers who either bought or leased a new vehicle within the past five years about the technologies that are being put in vehicles. Their results are interesting to say in the least. For example, safety tech is a big item for consumers. 40 percent of those surveyed expressed interest in blind-spot monitoring systems, 33 percent were interested in night vision systems, and 30 percent said they were intrigued by crash mitigation systems, along with backup cameras. Was there technologies that consumers couldn't really care about. Very much so. Only nine percent on consumers wanted gesture controls and further eight percent said they wanted haptic feedback in the touchscreen. J.D. Power also asked consumers about Apple's Carplay and Android Auto, systems that allow you to use phone via the infotainment system. Unsurprisingly, preference for either system came down to what phone you had. Notably, neither system garnered high marks in the survey. "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market. For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. Finally, J.D. Power's survey showed that Gen Y is willing to spend for tech. According to the survey results, Gen Y willing to spend an average of $3,703, followed by Gen X with an average of $3,003, and Baby Boomers spending an average of $2,416. Source: J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 J.D. POWER 2015 U.S. TECH CHOICE STUDY Consumer Preference for Collision Protection Technologies Paves the Way for Autonomous Driving Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto? It Depends on Your Phone WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 22 April 2015 - Three of the top five technologies consumers most prefer in their next vehicle are related to collision protection, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice StudySM released today. Technologies that reduce the overall burden of driving and enhance the safety of the vehicle and its occupants receive the most consumer attention. Among the technologies consumers express most interest in having in their next vehicle are blind spot detection and prevention systems, night vision, and enhanced collision mitigation systems. These findings demonstrate growing customer acceptance towards the concept of the vehicle taking over critical functions such as braking and steering, which are the foundational building blocks leading to the possibility of fully-autonomous driving. The only non-collision protection technologies to crack the top five are camera rearview mirror, which falls into the driving assistance category, and self-healing paint, a comfort and convenience category. The inaugural study uses advanced statistical methodologies to measure preference for and perceived value of future and emerging technologies. A total of 59 advanced vehicle features are examined across six major categories: entertainment and connectivity; comfort and convenience; collision protection; driving assistance; navigation; and energy efficiency. "There is a tremendous interest in collision protection technologies across all generations, which creates opportunities across the market," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. "In contrast, there is very little interest in energy efficiency technologies such as active shutter grille vents and solar glass roofs. Owners aren't as enthusiastic about having these technologies in their next vehicle because of other efforts automakers are taking to improve fuel economy, as well as relatively low fuel prices at the present time." Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto Smartphones play an increasingly vital role in everyday life, and vehicle technology is beginning to mirror what is offered on those devices, yet Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto technologies consistently have among the lowest preference scores across all generations. Consumer preferences for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are uniquely dependent on which smartphone they own. Those who currently own a smartphone that is compatible with one of these technologies would choose the technology compatible with their phone at only a moderate rate, while those with the opposite brand of smartphone will rarely, if ever, choose that technology. For example, Android owners indicate that Apple CarPlay is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as they indicate that solar glass roof is unacceptable. Similarly, Apple phone owners indicate that Android Auto is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as solar glass roof. Kolodge noted that "lukewarm interest in these technologies that connect your phone to your vehicle coupled with consumer loyalty to their phone poses a unique challenge for automakers, which could be remedied by knowing their customers' phone preferences." "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market," said Kolodge. "For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them." Gen Y Willing to Spend Most for Technology Across all generations[2], price is the most important consideration for technology, accounting for 25.2 percent of importance. Gen Y is the least sensitive to technology price and shows a greater willingness to spend on new technologies than the other generations. Gen Y consumers, who have accounted for 27.7 percent of new-vehicle sales thus far in 2015[3]-second only to Boomers at 37.1 percent-are willing to spend an average of $3,703 on technology for their next vehicle. Gen X is willing to spend $3,007, while Boomers, who show the greatest price sensitivity, and Pre-Boomers are willing to spend only $2,416 and $2,067, respectively. Importance of Technology A certainty in the automotive domain is the impact the consumer electronics world has had upon it. From shifting consumer expectations of user interaction, to the rapid pace of technology introduction and importance of keeping software up to date, to the miniaturization and creation of cost-effective solutions for sensors and cameras, "the auto industry is standing on its head to keep technology up to consumers' new standards," said Kolodge. "Those who haven't done so have seen negative feedback from consumers." KEY FINDINGS Full self-driving automation technology, part of the collision protection category, is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions. The younger generations (Gen Y and Gen X) have substantially higher preference for the technology than the older generations (Boomer and Pre-Boomer). The Pre-Boomer generation, in contrast, has a greater preference for lower levels of automation, such as traffic jam assist. ŸBlind spot detection and prevention has high preference across the range of vehicle price segments. In contrast, reverse auto braking systems have low preference across the vehicle price segments and preference wanes as vehicle prices increase. ŸAdvanced sensor technologies, such as hand gesture controlled seats, biometric driver sensors or haptic touch screens have low preference. ŸTechnologies in the navigation category have low preference across all vehicle price segments. The 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study was fielded in January through March 2015 and is based on an online survey of more than 5,300 consumers who purchased/leased a new vehicle in the past five years.
  20. Congratulations America. It seems we now buy more SUVs and crossovers than sedans according to a new study from IHS Automotive. Through May of 2014, IHS says that SUVs and CUVs account for 36.5 percent of new car registrations, compared to the 35.4 percent of registrations for sedans. This is a reversal from five years ago where sedans stood at 36.3 percent of registrations, compared to the 31.4 percent for SUVs and crossovers. “It’s not that sedans have become unpopular. It’s just that CUVs have really grown. They drive like cars, but they have higher positioning, the option for four-wheel drive and better fuel economy. There’s more space for seating. It’s easy to see why they’ve taken off in popularity,” said Tom Libby, analyst for IHS Automotive. The one thing we wished the study showed is the breakdown in registration percentages if SUVs and crossovers were separated. Otherwise, the results don't come as surprise. Source: Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  21. A new report from IHS Automotive says the average age of a vehicle on the road stands at 11.4 years, the same age as last year. This is change from the past few years where the age was climbing steadily. "In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road. This year, we're seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years, without a major change in either direction. We attribute this to a number of factors, including the economy and the increasing quality of today's automobiles," said Mark Seng, director, aftermarket solutions and global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive. But IHS is predicting that the average age will creep up to 11.5 year by 2017, and up to 11.7 by 2019. IHS also reports that at the end of 2013, there were 252.7 million light vehicles operating U.S. roads. This is up by 3.7 million vehicles when compared to 2012. Source: IHS Automotive Press Release is on Page 2 Average Age of Vehicles on the Road Remains Steady at 11.4 years, According to IHS Automotive U.S. Vehicles in Operation (VIO) Hits Record Levels at More than 252 Million; Scrappage Rate Declines Significantly SOUTHFIELD, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The combined average age of all light vehicles on the road in the U.S. remained steady at 11.4 years, based on a snapshot of vehicles in operation taken Jan. 1 of this year, according to IHS Automotive, which incorporated Polk into its business last year. Total light vehicles in Operation (VIO) in the U.S. also reached a record level of more than 252,700,000 -- an increase of more than 3.7 million (1.5 percent) since last year, said the IHS Automotive analysis from July 2013. In addition, new vehicle registrations outpaced scrappage by more than 24 percent for the first time in a decade, according to the analysis. The average age is in line with the trend shift first seen in 2013, in which the combined fleet of cars and light trucks on the road is older than ever. New analysis, however, indicates the average age of light trucks has increased in the past year to the same age as passenger cars, both at 11.4 years. This milestone marks the first time this has happened since 1995, when the data was first reported. “In our history of tracking, we have seen a gradual increase in the average age of vehicles on the road,” said Mark Seng, director, aftermarket solutions and global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive. “This year, we’re seeing somewhat of a plateau in the market, and expect it to remain over the next few years, without a major change in either direction. We attribute this to a number of factors, including the economy and the increasing quality of today’s automobiles.” Looking ahead, IHS forecasts that average age of vehicles is likely to remain at 11.4 years through 2015, then rise to 11.5 years by 2017 and 11.7 years by 2019. This rate of growth is slowing as compared to the last five years due to the substantial increase in new vehicle sales. Scrappage Rates Decline amid VIO Growth The number of vehicles scrapped in 2013 was significantly fewer than in previous years, with just over 11.5 million vehicles scrapped during the 12-month timeframe analyzed by IHS Automotive. In comparison, a record high of more than 14 million vehicles were scrapped in 2012. This while VIO is up 1.5 percent, a rate the auto industry hasn’t seen in the U.S. since 2004-2005. Dynamics of Fleet Age and Mix With the shift in ownership comes shift in the age of vehicles within segments of the overall fleet, which is important to business planners in the aftermarket and service industries so they can manage inventories of parts required and plan for sales and service activity accordingly. Based on the growth of new vehicle registrations in the past few years as the U.S. auto industry has rebounded, IHS Automotive forecasts that the volume of vehicles 0-5 years old will increase by 32 percent over the next five years while vehicles in the 6-11 year old category will decline by 21 percent. Because of improved quality and consumers holding their cars and light trucks longer, vehicles 12-plus years old continue to grow and will increase by 15 percent by 2019. The IHS Automotive aftermarket team is working with customers in all areas of the aftermarket to help them best identify opportunities and specific planning efforts that may help improve their business. Likewise, business planning opportunities are under way at the OEMs to help them identify additional sales opportunities as vehicles are taken out of service and newer vehicle are coming into the U.S. vehicle fleet.
  22. While many still think electric vehicles are a niche, a new study from IHS Automotive suggests that EVs are actually catching on more quickly than hybrids when they were first introduced. The study looked at the cumulative global sales of the first-generation Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Leaf in the first four years. IHS Automotive found that the Toyota Prius moved 52,200 units from 2000 to 2004. However, the Volt and Leaf have sold more vehicles in their respective four-year timeframes. The Chevrolet Volt and all of its derivatives saw sales of 68,507 units, while the Nissan Leaf saw sales of 96,477 units. It should be noted that while Toyota Prius went on sale in 1997 in Japan, IHS Automotive uses 2000 as the starting point for figuring out sales as that is when Toyota launched the model worldwide. The IHS Automotive study also points out that early expectations for EVs may have been inflated a lot, causing many to think of early EVs and plug-ins as failures in sales despite the relative success in sales around the world. Source: Automobile Magazine William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  23. For the first time in sixteen years, J.D. Power and Associates says data from its recent vehicle dependability study shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased. This year's study charted 2011 models over three years of ownership and tracked the number of problems. Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, J.D. Power reports an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (or shorten to PP100). This is an increase of six percent when compared to 2010's 126 PP100 average. The reason for this climb in problems comes down to problems with engines and transmissions. J.D. Power found that engines and transmissions problem accounted for a 6 PP100 boost. "Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles. However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. Among individual brands, Lexus ran away with the most dependable brand title for the third year in a row. With just 68 problems per 100 vehicles, the brand was far ahead of Mercedes-Benz (104 PP100), Cadillac (107 PP100), Acura (109 PP100), and Buick (112 PP100). Source: J.D. Power William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study 2/12/2014 J.D. Power Reports: Increased Engine and Transmission Problems Contribute to Decline in Vehicle Dependability for The First Time in More Than 15 Years General Motors Company Receives Eight Segment Awards, While Toyota Motor Corporation Garners Seven and Honda Motor Company Earns Six WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: Owners of 3-year-old vehicles (2011 model year) report more problems than did owners of 3-year-old vehicles last year, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) released today. The study, now in its 25th year, examines problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The study finds that overall vehicle dependability averages 133 PP100, a 6 percent increase in problems from 126 PP100 in 2013. This marks the first time since the 1998 study that the average number of problems has increased. "Until this year, we have seen a continual improvement in vehicle dependability," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. "However, some of the changes that automakers implemented for the 2011 model year have led to a noticeable increase in problems reported." Increases in Engine and Transmission Problems Reported Engine and transmission problems increase by nearly 6 PP100 year over year, accounting for the majority of the overall 7 PP100 increase in reported problems. The decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with 4-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100. These smaller engines, as well as large diesel engines, tend to be more problematic than 5- and 6-cylinder engines, for which owners report fewer problems, on average. "Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles," said Sargent. "However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge." Dependability Leads to Loyalty; Poor Dependability Creates Avoidance J.D. Power also finds that the fewer problems owners experience with their vehicle, the greater their loyalty to the brand. Combined data from previous years' VDS results and vehicle trade-in data from the Power Information Network® (PIN) from J.D. Power show that 56 percent of owners who reported no problems stayed with the same brand when they purchased their next new vehicle. Brand loyalty slipped to just 42 percent among owners who reported three or more problems. Also, a comparison of data from the 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study with data from the subsequent J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Avoider StudySM shows that consumers are much more likely to avoid vehicles from brands that rank lower in dependability. On average, 23 percent of consumers avoided brands that ranked in the lowest quartile of the 2013 VDS because of concerns about reliability. In contrast, only 9 percent of consumers cited that same reason for avoiding brands that ranked in the top quartile. "By combining our customer research with trade-in data, we see a very strong correlation between dependability and real-world brand loyalty," said Sargent. "Also, we see that brands with lower dependability are likely to be shut out of a significant piece of the market, as many consumers will not even consider purchasing one of their vehicles because of concerns about its likely reliability." Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models Lexus ranks highest in vehicle dependability among all nameplates for a third consecutive year. The gap between Lexus and all other brands is substantial, with Lexus averaging 68 PP100 compared with second-ranked Mercedes-Benz at 104 PP100. Following Mercedes-Benz in the rankings are Cadillac (107), Acura (109) and Buick (112), respectively. General Motors Company receives eight segment awards?more than any other automaker in 2014?for the Buick Lucerne; Cadillac DTS (tie); Cadillac Escalade; Chevrolet Camaro; Chevrolet Volt; GMC Sierra HD; GMC Sierra LD; and GMC Yukon. Toyota Motor Corporation garners seven awards for the Lexus ES; Lexus GS; Lexus LS (tie); Lexus RX; Scion xB; Toyota Camry; and Toyota Sienna. Honda Motor Company receives six model-level awards for the Acura RDX; Honda CR-V; Honda Crosstour; Honda Element; Honda Fit; and Honda Ridgeline. MINI receives one model-level award for the MINI Cooper. The Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by manufacturers and suppliers worldwide to help them design and build better vehicles, which typically translates into higher resale values and customer loyalty. It also helps consumers make more-informed choices for both new- and used-vehicle purchases. The 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from more than 41,000 original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded between October and December 2013.
  24. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 9, 2013 Don't own a vehicle? You are not alone. In fact, the number of people who don't own a vehicle is increasing. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released a brief that states the number of American households that don't own a vehicle has seen a uptick. Starting in 1960, the number of households that didn't own a vehicle declined steadily, reaching a low of 8.7 percent in 2007. But since that time, the share has been rising. In 2011, the latest year for which data is available, the share had risen to 9.3 percent. While the economic fallout from the recession plays a key role, authors of the brief say there are other factors in play. "Changes in alternatives to travel, such as communication substituting for travel and renewed interest in and availability of options such as transit, bike and walk, helped dampen interest in expanding auto ownership," the brief stated. This correlates to data released back in February by Federal Highway Administration which showed the number of vehicle miles traveled peaked in the U.S. in 2004. Since then, the number of vehicle miles traveled has declined steadily. Another factor in play is persistent narrative that Millennials don't own vehicles since they cannot afford one. Source: AASHTO, Aol Autos William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  25. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 22, 2013 AAA recently released their annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study and finds that average American driver is now paying $9,122 per year to keep their vehicle on the road, an increase of 1.92% when compared to 2012. Assuming a person is driving around 15,000 miles a year, that breaks down 60.8 cents per mile. The study looks at the costs of keeping a vehicle on road such as gas, maintenance, and insurance to name a few. “Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle. This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. Fuel, insurance, and depreciation were the biggest costs in the study, totaling $6,700 per year. Source: AAA William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Cost of Owning and Operating Vehicle in U.S. Increases Nearly Two Percent According to AAA’s 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study Increase in maintenance, insurance and fuel drive up average cost for sedans to $9,122 yearly, 60.8 cents per mile ORLANDO, Fla., (April 16, 2013) – AAA released the results of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today, revealing a 1.96 percent increase in the cost to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average cost rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving. “Many factors go into the cost calculation of owning and operating a vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “This year, changes in maintenance, fuel and insurance costs resulted in the increase to just over 60 cents a mile.” The findings of the 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include: In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs by category of vehicle and various annual mileages, are contained in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure which is available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded in the additional resources bar. Nielsen continued, “Before you make any vehicle purchase, it is important to determine ownership and operational costs and compare them to your current and future financial situation.” To assist consumers in determining their individual driving costs, the AAA ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure contains a worksheet that can be filled out and personalized for a specific area, driver and vehicle. Maintenance Costs Up 11.26 Percent The costs associated with maintaining a vehicle had the single largest percentage increase from 2012 to 2013, growing by 11.26 percent to 4.97 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. AAA’s estimates are based upon the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty policy. Driving the increase in maintenance costs is significant increases in labor and part costs for some models and a major increase in the price of extended warranty policies due to high loss ratios by underwriters. Fuel Costs Up 1.93 Percent Gasoline prices were relatively stable compared to the prior year, leading to a minimal fuel cost increase of 1.93 percent to 14.45 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The average cost of regular grade fuel (used by most of the study vehicles) actually rose 3.84 percent, from $3.357 to $3.486 per gallon. However, several vehicles in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had small improvements in their fuel economy ratings which partially offset the fuel cost increase. Fuel costs in the 2013 study were calculated using the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline during the fourth quarter of 2012. Tire Costs Remain Unchanged The cost of tires did not change from 2012 to 2013, remaining at one cent per mile on average for sedan owners. The stable price is attributed to a leveling off of past increased costs for raw materials, energy and transportation from factories to distributors across the country. Insurance Costs Up 2.76 Percent Average insurance costs for sedans rose 2.76 percent (or $28) to $1029 annually. Insurance rates vary widely by driver and driving record, issuing company and geographical region. AAA insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record. Quotes from five AAA clubs and insurance companies representing seven states showed across-the-board modest increases for all sedan sizes, with large cars having less of an increase than small- and medium-size sedans. Depreciation Costs Rise .78 Percent After seeing a drop in 2012, depreciation costs were up slightly in 2013, increasing .78 percent to $3,571 a year. This change may be a consequence of recovering new vehicle sales, resulting in more used cars available in the marketplace and thus the softening of the resale value of clean older models. 63rd Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon. The ‘Your Driving Costs’ study employs a proprietary AAA methodology to analyze the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the United States. Variable operating costs considered in the study include fuel, maintenance and repair, and tires. Fixed ownership costs factored into the results include insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Ownership costs are calculated based on the purchase of a new vehicle that is driven over five years and 75,000 miles. Your actual operating costs may vary. See AAA’s 2013 ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure for a list of vehicles and additional information on the underlying criteria used in the study.

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