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Consumer panel shares likes and dislikes about today’s car tech

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It seems impossible to please everybody, but that’s the challenge automakers face as consumer expectations for connected cars continue to rise.

This was obvious during a panel discussion at a telematics conference Wednesday where consumers shared their infotainment preferences along with the pros and cons they see on a daily basis within their respective systems. The panel, part of the TU-Automotive Detroit 2015 event in suburban Detroit, consisted of five people who own a Chrysler 200 sedan, a Ford Escape crossover, a BMW X5 crossover, a Cadillac SRX crossover and a Mercedes G63 SUV.

There was agreement among the consumers on a variety of issues.

For instance, they prefer to use their phones for navigation rather than the “clunky” in-vehicle offerings. In addition, they said vehicle diagnostic apps that brief them on tire pressure, especially during winter months, and fuel levels are welcome features that come in handy.

There was also excitement about the rollout of Apple CarPlay. Each of the panelists owns an iPhone.

The panel provided valuable insight for any automaker that may have been in attendance, especially when a new Nielsen study found that manufacturers are jamming features into cars that most owners don’t use or often aren’t aware of.

An interesting point of contention among the consumers was the possibility of Apple building its own car.

While one panelist said he’d welcome an Apple shake-up of the industry, another urged the tech giant to stay away. One consumer added that an Apple car may not “play nice with everyone,” implying that Android users would be frozen out of the car’s digital ecosystem if they didn’t own an iPhone.

Here’s a breakdown of what the consumers like and dislike about their connected cars.


• Bluetooth connectivity

• Ability to listen to text messages

• Head-up display

• Split-screen views that allow for music and traffic information, for example, to be seen on display units simultaneously

• Ability to answer phone with button on steering wheel

• Ability to unlock/lock doors and start car with phone

• Concierge services


• Some navigation features can’t be used while vehicle is in motion. Passengers should still be able to input commands in these cases.

• Navigation is clunky compared with the phone.

• Dealerships need to be more thorough in explaining features.

• Would like to turn on heated seats from phone before getting into car

• Voice recognition needs work.



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