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J.D. Power And Associates Reports: Vehicle Owners Ask For Smartphone Integration And Better Voice Controls, As Satisfaction With Factory-Installed Navigation Systems Declines

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Jan. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite many new-vehicle owners saying their factory-installed navigation system is better than their previous system, navigation system satisfaction has declined from 2011, as owners are frustrated by the complexity of menu systems, voice control commands and inputting destinations, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study SM released today.

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Now in its 14th year, the study identifies six factors that contribute to overall satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems. In order of importance, they are ease of use; routing; navigation display screen; speed of system; voice directions; and voice activation. The study also measures quality by examining problems per 100 (PP100) vehicles, in which a lower score reflects higher quality.

On average, satisfaction with navigation systems is 681 (on a 1,000-point scale), a 13-point decrease from 694 in 2011. Satisfaction declines in all factors, most notably in ease of use (637), which declines by 25 points year over year.  

As smartphones become more sophisticated in the functions they can perform, more owners are using them for navigation. In the 2012 study, 47 percent of vehicle owners indicate they use a downloaded app on their smartphone for navigation in their vehicle, compared with 37 percent in 2011. Notably, 46 percent of owners indicate they "definitely would not" or "probably would not" repurchase a factory-installed navigation system if their smartphone navigation could be displayed on a central screen in their vehicle.

"Manufacturers of navigation systems face a serious challenge as smartphone navigation usage continues to rise and gains preference among vehicle owners," said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. "Free apps, up-to-date maps and a familiar interface allow for quicker routing and improved interaction, including better voice recognition. Manufacturers have a window of opportunity to either improve upon the current navigation system platforms or focus on new ways to integrate smartphones."

The study finds that input and selection controls account for six of the top 10 most frequent problems owners experience with their factory-installed navigation system. The remaining four problems are the inability to read the text due to size or location; the map not showing enough street names; the system was slow to boot/connect; and the screen lighting not working properly.

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