Young Consumers Demand Improved Auto Multimedia Systems
J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey, originally published in the summer of 2012, contains a goldmine of key quality-related statistics. Consumers highly value the opinion of J.D. Power and Associates due to the company’s proven record of steering buyers toward the best vehicles on the market.
Initial Quality Survey
From a manufacturer’s perspective, the Initial Quality Survey gives the automotive industry a snapshot view of consumer demands. In my opinion, quality departments ought to appreciate the impact these surveys have on consumer buying habits. After all, it is fair to say that a massive amount of consumers make their purchasing decisions based solely on awards bestowed upon auto manufacturers from J.D. Power and Associates.
My former skepticism on the effectiveness of continuous quality management improvement has little merit today. The numbers speak for themselves. In the 2012 Initial Quality Survey, overall vehicle quality “measured in problems per 100 vehicles” improved by 5% over the previous year. This fact alone should catch the attention of quality departments; you are simply doing a better job overall.
As always, the devil is in the details. The biggest surprise of the 2012 survey was the high number of multimedia-related complaints, and the complaints were not isolated to one particular brand. Audio, integrated entertainment and navigation systems simply failed to satisfy consumer expectations. According to past Initial Quality Surveys, quality-related issues with these systems have increased by 45% since 2006.
Quality departments should view the failings of multimedia systems as an invaluable opportunity to fully leverage IT resources. An integrated quality management software solution, expertly implemented by industry specialists, can serve as a means to identify root causes of failures in multimedia and navigation systems. The era of mobile technology integration is upon us, and manufacturers that improve the quality of such systems will surely gain a competitive advantage.
The Young Consumer
A peculiar nugget of information buried among the facts in the Initial Quality Survey is that more young consumers reported quality-related issues with multimedia than other demographic segments. From what I have read on the subject, debate continues to this day as to the precise causes of this disparity in complaints.
One theory offered by J.D. Power and Associates’ quality expert Dave Sargent suggests the root cause lies in the expectations of young consumers. Companies could certainly make the argument that it’s more likely that young consumers demand more technical functionality in modern vehicles. The challenge quality departments must overcome is how to impart high usability in auto multimedia systems while mitigating cost of quality, too. The data unearthed by soundly implemented quality management software can help companies overcome the multimedia issue.
Overall, auto manufacturers are gradually improving the quality of vehicles. Companies that utilize the advantages of integrated quality management software will be able to exceed the multimedia expectations of young consumers.