It’s no secret that cars are becoming more high-tech as automakers rush to introduce new driver assistance systems. Unfortunately, it appears many of these features aren’t being demonstrated to consumers.
As The Wall Street Journal notes, a recent study from McKinsey & Co. estimates that 70% of car shoppers are aware about driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist. However, only about a third of consumers actually use them on a test drive.
This is understandable for some features as dealers might be not located near a highway where adaptive cruise control systems can really shine. It’s also safe to assume dealers wouldn’t want their customers to have a near collision just to showcase the automatic emergency braking system.
However, there are some reasons that are not quite as obvious. As the report notes, many dealership don’t stock pricey models loaded with thousands of dollars of optional driver assistance systems. Some dealers are also more concerned about selling cars than taking the time to explain individual safety systems.
The paper notes a poll recently conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab found just 35% of salespeople interviewed were able to thoroughly explain advanced safety features. One of the study’s authors chalked this up to several different factors including a lack of training and high dealership turnover rates.
Some dealerships are doing better than others and the report mentions the usual steps that Quirk Ford of Massachusetts is taking. Once a customer buys a car, a teenager from the dealership’s “Technology Team” helps the buyer to understand the car’s features and how to use them.