Linking smartphones to vehicles becomes top problem of owners this year: Study

A study by JD Power stated that electronic and infotainment system malfunctions have been the cause of six out of the top 10 complaints from US automo
File photo used for representational purpose only (Reuters)
File photo used for representational purpose only

As vehicles become more connected and advanced, issues and problems related to these advancements also seem to be on rise. Connecting smartphones with vehicle's infotainment systems has been the biggest issue with car owners this year in the US, as per a latest study of new model quality conducted by market research firm JD Power.

Overall, the study stated that electronic and infotainment system malfunctions have been the cause of six out of the top 10 complaints from US buyers in 2021, despite years of effort by automakers to better integrate digital technology into vehicles. The new Initial Quality Study from JD Power highlights the challenges that automakers face as they try to transform their vehicles into ‘smartphones on wheels’.

With time, issues and complaints related to mechanical defects have been declining but consumer frustration persists, now with the complex dashboard screens, radios without physical volume knobs and connecting phones seamlessly with the dashboard system software of the vehicles, Dave Sargent, JD Power's vice president of automotive quality, told Reuters.

(Also read | Google to replace Android Auto for phones with Google Assistant in new update)

The top problem for this year has been ascertained the failure of a smartphone to connect wirelessly to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto software in the vehicles. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto emulate a smartphone's screen in the vehicle's dashboard display, giving drivers advanced digital controls.

The study states that wireless smartphone emulation technology is now offered on about a third of 2021 models but is creating obstacles "for virtually every automaker that offers that to consumers. "Automakers and tech companies are kind of pointing fingers at each other, and consumers are caught in the middle," said Sargent.

The second biggest issue this year for automobile consumers has been the voice recognition systems with nearly 111,000 consumer complaints received. The third place is occupied by complaints related to dashboard touchscreens. "Consumers don’t think there’s a better way of changing the volume on a radio than twisting a knob," Sargent added.

(with inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 01 Sep 2021, 10:06 AM IST

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