HIGH COST FOR SAFETY: Drivers want more collision-prevention technology in their cars but there is a limit to how much they will pay. Image: Shutterstock
DETROIT, US - Drivers want more collision-prevention technology in their cars but there is a limit to how much they will pay.
Blind-spot detection, night vision and collision avoidance systems, which automatically apply the brakes if the driver doesn't react in time, are the top three technologies drivers want in their next cars, according to a study released by the consulting firm JD Power.
Drivers are much less excited about fuel-saving features, like solar roofs or active grille shutters, which open and close to improve aerodynamics. They also show little interest in wellness gadgets, like seats that measure your blood pressure, or sensors that let drivers use hand gestures to control the car's functions.
Satnav systems also weren't popular.
EXPENSIVE TRIM LEVELS
As the age of the driver goes up, the budget for new technology goes down. Generation Y buyers, who are 38 and younger, say they would spend the most — an average of about R45 000 - for new technology. Generation X buyers would spend about R37 000, while Baby Boomers are willing to fork over about R29 000. Pre-Boomers, or those born before 1946, would spend about R25 000.
That might not be enough to get them all the features they want. High-tech safety features are often packaged together and may only be available on more expensive trim levels.
To get blind spot detection and emergency automatic braking on the R1.1-million Mercedes-Benz S Class, for example, buyers must first upgrade to a R5 500 premium package and then spend R34 000 for a separate safety package. A night vision system, which uses sensors and heat-seeking cameras to warn drivers of obstacles in the road, is an extra R27 000.
HANDFUL OF MODELS
Prices are rapidly coming down, however, as cameras get cheaper and automakers spread out their costs by adding safety features to more and more models. Toyota said in March 2015 month that its automatic braking will be an option on its 2016 RAV4 SUV. The automaker offers automatic braking on its Prius hybrid but only as part of a R53 000 package.
For the study, which took place between January and March, JD Power asked 5300 recent car buyers to rank 59 separate technologies. Some, like the wellness car seats or a rear-mounted camera that projects images onto the rearview mirror, aren't yet commercially available. Another technology that appealed to respondents - a paint that repairs small scratches itself - is uncommon but available on a handful of models from Nissan, Infiniti and Lexus.