Phone won’t talk to your car? You are not alone: ​​Study

by Joseph White

DETROIT (Reuters) – Problems with properly connecting smartphones with vehicle infotainment systems are now the No. 1 gripe among consumers, according to the latest study on the quality of new models released on Tuesday by market research firm JD Power.

Overall, JD Power says electronic and infotainment system malfunctions are the cause of six of the top 10 complaints from US buyers of 2021 cars, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, despite automakers trying to better integrate digital technology. Despite years of effort.

Stelantis NV’s Ram truck brand led the rankings for the first time in the JD Power Initial Quality Study, and the French-Italian automaker’s Dodge muscle car brand was in second place. Lexus, a regular winner of the Toyota Motor Corp Luxury Brands and Power Survey, finished third. Full results of the study are here.

The new preliminary quality study outlines the challenges automakers face as they try to convert their vehicles into smartphones on wheels.

While complaints about mechanical faults have generally declined, consumer frustrations include complex dashboard screens, radios without physical volume knobs and now phones that won’t connect natively with dashboard system software, according to J.D. Power of Automotive Quality. Dave Sargent, vice president of the company, told Reuters.

For 2021, the top problem reported by respondents was the failure of a smartphone to wirelessly connect to the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto software in the vehicle. Those systems must emulate the driver’s smartphone screen in the vehicle’s dashboard display.

Sargent said wireless smartphone emulation technology, which is offered on about a third of its 2021 models, “is creating challenges for nearly every automaker it offers to consumers.”

“Automakers and tech companies are pointing fingers at each other, and consumers are stuck in the middle,” he said.

Second on the list of customer complaints received from nearly 111,000 respondents were voice recognition systems, the number 1 problem since 2012. Sargent said it fell down because motorists are using voice commands on their phones, bypassing the in-vehicle system.

In third place are complaints about the dashboard touch screen, Sargent said.

“Consumers don’t think there’s a better way to change the volume on a radio than by turning a knob,” he said.

Automakers use JD Power’s Preliminary Quality Study as a scorecard for product design and manufacturing quality performance. Automakers use top ratings for a brand or model in advertising. The detailed results of Power’s 223-question survey are often used to reimagine manufacturing processes or vehicle system designs.

(Reporting by Joe White in Detroit; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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