Analysing the results from a recent consumer survey by Consumer Reports, it has become clear that the biggest reliability problem when it comes to new vehicles at the moment, is their infotainment systems, perhaps highlighting a need for more experienced electronics makers like Apple and Google to handle the traditional head unit.
“Multi-function, cross-linked infotainment systems and the associated in-car electronics are a growing reliability plague for many brands,” the publication said in a statement. Out of all the areas it asked consumers about, the one that consistently was said to have the most problems, was the head-unit infotainment system.
Of course this could simply be because it tends to be the most complicated part of a car. Yes there are safety systems and little quirks of all vehicles, but for the most part they have the same pedals, wheel and gear stick as the one we all learned in way back when. When it comes to info-tainment however, they can be far more complicated.
They’re also quite convuluted and specific to that car, as spotting the growing trend for apps and smartphone interactivity, car-makers have gone to great lengths to develop their own, much more versatile systems. Ironically Apple and Google may end up stealing the show with their CarPlay and Android Auto systems in the end, but for now at least, people’s car stereos are giving them real headaches.
This is probably why most future vehicles from a lot of manufactures are being deliberately designed to be able to fit either an in-house system, Google’s Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay and then at least the consumers have a choice. It may be that those companies then urge new buyers to take up the third party software and hardware packages, as it would remove a significant support headache they seem ill equipped to handle.
However, Consumer Reports suggests that it may not just be the case of auto-makers not quite knowing how to make an info-tainment system. That in-fact, it could be inddicative of a car that was built in a rush or too cheaply and could mean that there are a lot of other problems hidden elsewhere in the vehicle.
“Infotainment system problems generally don’t exist in a vacuum,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, in a statement. “A close look at the results suggests that cars with a lot of in-car electronic issues usually have plenty of other troubles, too.”
What have your experiences been like with in-car infotainment systems? Unless you have a car from the last few years, chances are you’re still languishing with a simple CD player and radio, with perhaps a bit of bluetooth support. But what about those with something fancier?
Image source: Shane K