Tech Pays Off for U.S. Automakers
Efforts by U.S. automakers to incorporate the latest technology into new vehicles are gaining traction with buyers, according to some new data from J.D. Power.
Clearly, U.S. automakers have been on a roll of late, with sales way up for Detroit’s “Big Three.” Domestic auto plants from all makers have been running at capacity, and churned out 16 million cars last year.
While buyers tell J.D. Power that such things as reliability and fuel economy are still big factors in deciding which vehicle to buy, they are increasingly being swayed by cars and light trucks that incorporate the latest technology. This is especially true for those consumers who choose American cars.
J.D. Power found that, while 33% of import buyers cite having the latest technology as a reason for purchase, a bigger percentage (38%) of domestic car buyers are swayed by offerings with the latest tech.
Many of those who switch from an import vehicle to a domestic one say that their purchase was heavily influenced by the new technology and features offered in American cars and trucks, according to J.D. Power. This is good news for U.S. automakers.
Automakers have been offering sophisticated features in lower-level models in recent years. For instance, Chrysler now offers such things as rear-view cameras and collision avoidance systems in its compact Dodge Dart model; Ford has expanded the availability of its Synch driver interface to include fourteen models.
Clearly, though, non-U.S. carmakers like VW, Toyota and Hyundai are paying attention to these trends, and are stepping up their own efforts. U.S. makers have established a niche by offering the latest tech, but their overseas competitors will be working hard to catch up. In the end, the main beneficiaries of this trend will be consumers, who will have ever-more sophisticated vehicles available at a wide range of price points.
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