Some high-tech cars frustrate consumers

Screenshot from a MyFord Touch video

JEREMY HOBSON: Well now to one of the key ingredients in car advertisements. I'm talking about A top ranking from JD Power and Associates. The company will release its latest report today.

But as Marketplace's Jeff Horwich reports one of the things carmakers do to impress customers may actually be annoying them.


JEFF HORWICH: When it comes to in-car tech, no one pushes things more than Ford. Take the new "MyFord Touch" on-board computer system. Here's one tour on YouTube.

MYFORD TOUCH VIDEO: They combine two five-way switchpads on the steering wheel, three LCD displays: two in the instrument cluster, and one in the center stack.

Ford says all that is about making life easier behind the wheel. Well, here's what Consumer Reports had to say...

CONSUMER REPORTS: This much-advertised dashboard design, well we found it to be frustrating on a lot of different levels.

Transmissions can also generate dissatisfied -- or at least confused -- customers. Dan Gray reviews cars at MPGoMatic.com. He says this year's advances get mileage and power, and can just feel weird.

DAN GRAY: When all of a sudden the transmission is telling us, "Hey, I'm here. I'm the transmission, I'm doing what I'm supposed to do," folks think there might be something wrong with it.

The J.D. Power survey measures owner-reported "problems" with their new cars. Whether there is something wrong, or customers just think there is -- doesn't matter.

I'm Jeff Horwich for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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