New car technology helps drive sales of domestic automobiles

new car technology
(Photo: caradvice.com.au)

Americans love new car technology.

Those who purchase domestic vehicles cite new car technology as a reason for their decision more often than those who purchase foreign-made vehicles.

About 38 percent of shoppers buying domestic vehicles said new car technology was important to them, compared with 33 percent of import vehicle buyers, reports J.D. Power in a 2014 study.  Additionally, domestic vehicle buyers who previously owned an import model are even more likely to purchase a domestic model due to its new car technology and features (40 percent).

“Domestic brands in general are carving out a niche for themselves by offering vehicles with the latest technological features, and it appears to be getting the attention of consumers,” said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power. “It’s important for automakers to understand what motivates new-vehicle buyers to shop and purchase a particular model and focus on promoting those top purchase influencers to differentiate themselves and gain market share.”

And that appears to be good news for the U.S. auto industry.

“Detroit seems to be earning a reputation for innovation, which will serve it well as infotainment, navigation, advanced safety systems and automation become increasingly important to shoppers,” Richard Reed at The Car Connection recently reported.

The study surveyed about 29,000 new-car owners between July and September of 2013 and seeks to understand what draws shoppers to some brands and what makes them steer clear of others.

Besides the new car technology difference between buyers of domestic and foreign-made models, the study detailed the differences in the reasons luxury-car purchasers and mass-market shoppers. Although three reasons were common to the two groups, they were ranked differently, J.D. Power reported.

Luxury buyers said their choices were affected, in order, by performance (power, handling, etc.), quality of workmanship (materials, fit and finish), exterior styling (design), the image the vehicle portrays, and reliability (freedom from breakdowns), according to the study.

Mass market shoppers cited, in order, gas mileage (fuel economy), reliability, the deal (interest rates and rebates), exterior styling and performance as the reasons affecting their purchases.

Among other key findings of the Power study:

– Fuel economy is the most important factor to most shoppers, and apart from price, it’s the second-most common reason that shoppers reject particular models.

– Exterior styling remains the most influential reason for new-vehicle buyers to avoid shopping other models in the segment in which they purchased (33 percent).

– Slightly more than eight in 10 new-vehicle buyers (81 percent) who use the Internet for automotive shopping cite accessing online ratings and reviews prior to purchasing their vehicle. Fifteen percent of new-vehicle buyers cite online ratings and reviews as a reason they avoided a specific vehicle.

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