Posted by: jdavis | June 10, 2008

On The Acceptance of Car Innovations

Sitting on my front porch with no one beside me as usual, save for my ever faithful notebook, I found it quite interesting to share with you this article I happened to chance upon the other day about the acceptance of innovations. All too often one would always think that innovations would always work for man’s benefit. Any change that would seem to capture man’s wild imagination seems to be lauded and taken in. Since that is the case positive outlook will always be taken and the innovation, whatever it may be, would be accepted willingly by the public especially if it is for the furtherance of ease and comfort. Come to think of it. If one would make something, it is for sure out of a perceived good. Car fenders, car refrigerators, new seatbelt styles, car fresheners, audio systems, to name a few would not be improved if not for a given purpose. And what could it be or more rightfully for whom all the improvements would be?  It is for no one else but for the customers’ consumption and the intended customers’ satisfaction. One would not modify his car, don a lot of accessories, and spend a lot of money, if it is not for a perceived good.


However, this article presents a different side of the story and an alternative perspective.  The opening statement reads, “All too often innovations fail to address customer needs.” Although there are a lot of innovations already done to improve the quality of services car manufacturers would offer and apparently having the customers in their mind, these would still be of little use. As what the article would cite, only about one out of six innovations is actually taken in by the consumers. Why is that? Firstly, the article speaks of too many complicated innovations – complicated feature names and acronyms. Say in the BMW 7 series from 14 extra features in 1986 it rose to 92 in 2006 which speaks of 78 innovations in 20 years! To add to that woe Lexus GS use acronyms and abbreviations in their features. Apparently, there really is a problem because of the sheer number of improvements. Yet, I would still look at the positive side since it would not ever be called innovation for nothing. Surely, the technology involved would mean improvement. What is simply called for in such condition is the market dissemination of such feature and the consumers are well informed of the advantages and disadvantages of such and such feature. It should also take cognizance of the differences the innovations brings about to the older features of the car. On the use of acronyms and abbreviations, brevity, simplicity and immediate recall must be put in mind. People buy what is easily remembered. Think of your going to market without a LIST. What will you buy? Certainly the one that you remember!  


The second point stated is the difference of perception among different customer groups. Of course, different people would buy different ware. Would I buy shampoo if I do not have hair? How much more a comb and hair polish. Car’s innovative technology would necessarily be bought out of the eccentricities of the car owners. Some will be very much pragmatic looking only at the beneficial side of the coin. Others who care much about beauty floundering about their so called aesthetic sense will definitely go for accessories that would match heir taste. While on the other side, the affluent would simply buy for the benefit of buying regardless of the use and aesthetic sense. The article even made mention of regional differences where Asian car buyers puts more interest on infotainment electronics. Trying to look in the Asian perspective would make me guess the reason for its being the case. Sense of balance! The aesthetic side which makes them happy and satisfied on the one hand and the practicality and usefulness of the techno on the other may count for the reason.


The last point stated is the customer’s limitations and difference in knowledge, desire and budget. Think of this again. Would one buy something he does not know? If ever he ahs come across the word, would he buy it if he doesn’t know its use? Everything must fit. Low order rate for car innovation citing only two percent sold to the consumers must have a reason. I go with the suggestion on the last paragraph that speaks of testing the chances foe success of the innovation and providing total features portfolio.


Car innovations work best at the right time. Asking for the aptness of time and answering such question requires more time. Yet commendable would always be the struggle and desire to make things better.  



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