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Drivers looking for new gizmos

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Monday, May 20, 2013
Posted: 11 am ET

Drivers want technology that helps them improve their car's gas mileage as well as improving smartphone connectivity in their next cars, according to the 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study from J.D. Power and Associates.

The study, which measures car owners' interest and purchase intentions for new car technologies, found that drivers were most interested in technology that easily links their smartphones to their cars, with 79 percent citing an interest before pricing was discussed, dropping to 67 percent when those surveyed learned of the $250 estimated cost for such technology.

J.D. Power and Associates said smartphone owners believe their devices should connect easily to their cars, and that owners often keep their cars for five years or more yet change smartphones more frequently, causing compatibility issues.

Two fuel-related technologies came in at second and third in the study, with 79 percent of drivers most interested in a fuel-economy indicator, which provides instant feedback on how to adjust a person's driving style to improve fuel economy, before they learned of the $50 price tag. That dropped only slightly to 72 percent after they were told the added cost. In addition, 76 percent of those surveyed were interested in active shutter grille vents, which are actual shutters in the grille that close to improve aerodynamics, thereby improving fuel economy. That number dropped to 61 percent when they were told it would cost $150.

The 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study, which was fielded in March 2013, used responses from 16,758 car owners, who were asked questions about 22 emerging technologies, each with related secondary technologies.

Are you willing to pay more for new car technology? How much more? Is there a price point where you wouldn't?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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May 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I drive an anti green, gas guzzling , tire smokin' hemi and I like it.......and am willing to pay for it.

May 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Enjoy your car! Stop being so cheap and worrying about a few extra miles a gallon. Relax, we have plenty of oil if Barry and his gang ever get their heads on right. Car makers are giving us the best vehicles ever. Beware of buying a small car with many airbags to get better economy. Safety suffers when you get hit by a bigger stronger vehicle. Laws of physics. In most rear end collisions, the car in the back dips so low that the front car rides over the triggers on the rear cars airbags. Many do not deploy.

b mcmurray
May 22, 2013 at 3:13 pm

This new technology from recent years to now & what is expected in the future is ALL a bunch on nonsense, non-necessary & over the top expensive. I don't need it or want it, period.

May 22, 2013 at 11:35 am


I, for one, do indeed understand what you mean.

My first car, as a High School Senior at Nurnburg American High School (Nurnburg Germany) in 1961, was a 1947 VW "Beetle" -- 1131cc 25hp(when new) engine, 4-speed non-synchromesh transmission, cable-operated (non-hydraulic) brakes, relatively small split rear-window, flip-out turn signals in the "B" pillars, barely adequate "heater", no gauges (only a speedometer with warning lights for Oil Pressure, Generator, High-Beam), a reserve fuel lever (to access the reserve fuel in the gas tank when the engine began to sputter because the lack of a fuel gauge meant it was impossible to know how much gas was in the tank), 60MPH+/- top speed, 38+/- MPG average (city-highway). THAT car definitely had personality!

Other cars I've owned that definitely had personality were: a 1961 Austin-Healy "Bugeye"/"Frogeye" Sprite, a 1964 Volvo PV544, a 1967 Porsche 911R (R=Rally), a 1970 Austin-America and a 1988 Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo.

I'd take any of the above over any of today's "green" cars!!!

May 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

The whole idea needs to be looked at differently. Pure electrics are far from happening. They may be good for around town but if you commute forget it. I believe the best way to head into the future is to use a system like the Fisker Karma where a diesel engine is used to run a generator to charge batteries which power the automobile. However to make it all happen means to make the cars much more affordable to the general public.

It sounds like John wants a nuclear holocaust :/

May 22, 2013 at 7:11 am

Reduce the worlds population by 80% and you would not have all these problems, such as green house gases, crime rates, polution, etc. etc.

May 22, 2013 at 2:55 am

Paul, You put a BMW 5 Series in the BIG car Category??...What Size Category do you put the 7 Series and the 8 Series (Sedan).....

May 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I own several cars ranging from a 1969 AMC Javelin muscle car to a 2011 Volvo @40 - actually a company car - and each of them has their own quirks that make them appealing.

The Javelin is an old school, no quarter asked, none given, raw muscle car. Power, looks, and just a blast to drive. Never fails to turn heads.

Mercedes-Benz GL450. Big, luxurious, plenty of room for the grandchildren, safe and has a video system to boot.

BMW 525 IS. Manual transmission, no electronic nonsense, 100,000 miles, still looks as good as new. Gets 32 MPG highway, 22 around town. Exceptional for a big car.

The Volvo is my company car. S40R, the performance versions. Drove to Boston and made 39 MPG. Much more comfortable and sporty than any Prius.

My point is that every vehicle has a personality. I enjoy driving which is different from operating a car which, sadly, is more the case these days. People don't drive, they operate. The car, in the example of a Prius or similar, is just an appliance, like a refrigerator. I could go on, but why bother, no one will read this and understand what I mean.

May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Carolyn- realistically you would need to improve your drag coefficient by a huge margin (like probably 30%) to increase that mileage by the 10-20% you are seeking - it is not a linear relationship. I suspect you would MAYBE get an additional quarter- to half-mile per gallon if you were lucky.

May 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I drive a 2012 pruis and get 44 miles per gal. in city driving and 50-55 miles on the highways. I would pay the $150 dollars to
have the grill shutters if it would increase my mpg to 60 miles on the highways.