Auto Electronics

Visteon and Clarion rank highest in J.D. Power vehicle multimedia survey

Visteon Corporation ( and Clarion Corporation of America ( rank highest in quality among suppliers of automotive multimedia systems in new vehicles, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study (

The study evaluated 28 combinations of AM/FM, cassette, single CD player, multiple CD changer, navigation system, and satellite radio. Suppliers are ranked based on scores for problems per 100 vehicles in the two largest segments, AM/FM/Single CD Player and AM/FM/Multi-CD Changer. Low PP100 scores indicate higher quality.

Visteon, which supplies multimedia systems for Ford ( and Mercury ( models, ranks highest in the AM/FM/Single CD Player segment with an overall PP100 score of 3.7. It performed well across all problem areas, according to Allison LaDuc, senior research manager of automotive product quality at J.D. Power. Alpine Electronics ( came in a close second with a score of 3.9, and Clarion ranked third overall in the segment with 4.2 PP100.

Clarion ranked highest in the AM/FM/Multi-CD Changer segment with an overall 6.1 PP100 score of 6.1. Clarion supplies systems for several Nissan (, Infiniti ( and Suzuki ( models, and LaDuc said vehicle owners experience relatively few ejection and playback problems with Clarion’s multi-CD changer. Fujitsu Ten ( follows Clarion in the rankings with a 6.5 PP100 score.

LaDuc said the most common multimedia system problems cited by vehicle owners involve front audio/entertainment system controls that are difficult to understand and/or use or are in a poor location. Owners also report problems with poor/no AM/FM radio reception and with the navigation system; for example, that map information missing, wrong directions are provided, or the screen is poorly located. “Many of the most common problems owners face with their multimedia systems are design issues and are not related to the functionality of the system,” said LaDuc. “However, the way technology is integrated into new-vehicle design is as important to vehicle owners as are defects and malfunctions. It is imperative for suppliers and manufacturers to work together to design systems that are more convenient and user friendly for their customers.”

The study found that navigation systems are the most desired multimedia-related feature among new-vehicle owners. While only 13% of owners currently have a navigation system, nearly 30% indicate that they want one in their next vehicle. Steering wheel controls for the audio system follows navigation system in desirability, with 27% percent of customers expressing desire for it in their next vehicle, and 22% desiring an in-dash multi-CD changer.

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