Auto Electronics

J.D. Power study reveals strong consumer interest in alternative audio options

More than half (54%) of prospective new car buyers surveyed by J.D. Power and Associates ( said they would pay $100 for a USB memory key that would let them play non-standard audio files in their next vehicle, according to the research firm’s 2006 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study. At that same price point, 58% of consumers would like an in-vehicle hard drive so they could burn and store music files in the vehicle’s audio system.

Among iPod owners, 60% say they would be willing to pay $150 to connect their iPod to their vehicle’s audio system. Larry Wu, senior director of automotive product and quality research at J.D. Power, said that employing iPod, MP3 and USB connectivity options in new vehicles could help auto manufacturers attract and maintain younger buyers.

Premium surround sound continues to be the most desired entertainment feature after the market price ($400) is revealed, according to Wu. Before knowing the price, 61% of consumers expressed high interest in the feature. More than 75% of those interested in a premium surround sound system at $400 said they would pay double for a branded premium surround sound system.

The study also found that consumers continue to have high interest in safety/sensing technologies. At an average market price of $600, 72% of consumers say they "probably" or "definitely" would like to have side impact air bags on their next new vehicle. Nearly 40% currently have that technology in their vehicles. Run-flat tires, stability control, night vision systems, blind spot detection and backup assist follow side impact airbags as features that most interest consumers prior to their knowing the estimated market price.

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