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Desirability of New Radio Formats as a Car Feature Is Consistent

But moveable headlights ranked highest

Here’s the rest of the story on that JD Power & Associates emerging car technology study we told you about last week.

Satellite radio and HD Radio are holding their own as features that survey participants say they’d want in a new car once the price is revealed, neither dropping but not improving much either.

Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies for JD Power, tells me “satellite radio is holding its own” even though research shows a little apprehension about the subscription fee. Satellite radio ranked eighth out of 18 in consumer interest before the participants were shown the average market price of $12.95 a month, assuming the in-dash radio of a new car would be satellite-capable. Sat rad moved up to fifth after price was mentioned.

HD Radio remains “relatively static,” he said. HD Radio was ranked ninth before price and moved up to seventh after an average price of $200 per unit was shown.

Both kinds of radio have been in the survey at least three years.

What was the top feature participants said they’d want in a new car, even after hearing the price? “Active Cornering Headlight System” ranked number one. These lights are tied to the steering system and mimic the turn your car is making, such as a 90- or 45-degree turn.

A Collision Mitigation System ranked in the middle of the survey at number 11. This system looks at what’s around your car and, if it senses a crash, tightens your seatbelt, hits the brakes and “moves your seat into a position that’s ready for a crash. It reacts before you can,” Marshall said.

(How about a feature that prevents uninsured motorists from hitting your new car? I could have used that recently.)

The features surveyed all exist, but they are not all on cars right now. Some are on luxury models only. Automakers use the information to decide what features they should expand to other models.

JD Power surveyed some 19,000 participants and grouped people by car size, since you’re more likely to stay with the size car you have now when you get a new one, according to Marshall.

It’s a little disturbing — though I guess not surprising — that radio isn’t seen as more sexy in the car. We reported last week that among audio features, consumers in this survey the ability to connect their audio devices into the dash.