QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

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Thread: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

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    QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    The Wall Street Journal
    May 11, 2017


    Photo Credit: Jaguar USA; New generation system in 2018 Jaguar XF.

    Your New Car’s Best Tech Feature May Be the ‘System Off’ Button

    Buggy software, touchy touch screens baffle drivers; ‘then the beeping started’

    Jonna Miller, a Houston obstetrician, has delivered babies for 17 years, some births trickier than others. But getting from point A to point B using BMW’s navigation system, she said, is too complicated to bother with.

    Dr. Miller, 48 years old, has been on the losing end of a technological tug of war with her 2015 640i coupe. The voice-activated cellphone-calling system refuses to recognize her husband’s name. Safety sensors needlessly beep every time she backs out of her garage or passes through the carwash.

    A BMW spokesperson said sensors for the parking-assistance system “can be turned off simply by pressing one button.”

    Even so, Dr. Miller’s complaints echo other drivers who long for the days when the only console controls were for the heater and radio. “This might be why I buy a used car in the future,” Dr. Miller said.

    Auto makers have come to rely on car tech for a disproportionate amount of profit. As they load up their vehicles with gizmos and gadgets, however, they’re leaving some drivers dazed and confused—even driving them to attend twohour demonstration seminars.

    Ron Iseman, a retired Air Force intelligence officer living in Ormond Beach, Fla., quit using his Acura RDX’s built-in navigation system after it told him to take a left turn at a red light—into a pond. Imagine, he said, “if it had been night and the light had been green.” He disabled the car’s lane-keep assistance feature, which beeps when drivers stray from their lanes, after the warning turned into a nag.

    The new safety-infotainment industrial complex is intended to reduce risk and make drivers’ lives easier—a good idea when it all works.

    T.G. “Terry” Barrett and his wife, Janet Nickles, of Pine Top, Ky., bought matching Honda Civics last year loaded with a full complement of digital features. Soon after, the touch screens on Mr. Barrett’s car went haywire, scrolling wildly and shutting on and off untouched, he said.

    Then the beeping started. Constant beeping, he said, with no way to stop it. His wife’s car chimed in with its own beeping.

    The local Honda dealership rebooted the system several times, updated the software and replaced the entire touch panel. Still, the beeping. “This has been going on for more than a year now,” Mr. Barrett said.

    He was told another software upgrade wasn’t quite ready. Car makers, he said, are “moving too fast and want to sell things before the bugs are worked out.”

    Honda said in a written statement: “The screen supplier has corrected the issue in new production, and there will soon be a software update” for existing vehicles.

    AutoTrader.com, a car-buying website, polled more than 1,000 car owners recently about car tech and more than a third said they wanted only standard features.

    A similar study by Deloitte found advanced dashboard apps to help find parking spaces or connect with other smartphones were among a vehicle’s least useful features.

    Many American consumers believe the inability to deliver reliable dashboard features casts doubt on the auto industry being able to engineer self-driving cars that won’t crash, the Deloitte study found.

    The learning curve for new models seems to steepen every year, along with driver complaints. Getting customers up to speed “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” said Bill Fay, the Toyota brand’s U.S. chief, whose work follows him home. His wife, he confessed, struggles with new features.

    “I’ll show her and she says. ‘I still don’t know how to work this,’ ” he said. “Eventually, we make progress.”

    On a rainy night in Topsham, Maine, a dozen new-car owners huddled in the service garage of Lee Toyota for a 90minute tutorial. Lured by free sandwiches, they heard about dashboard controls and crashprevention features.

    “It’s not designed to drive the car for you,” service manager Eric Muchmore warned, though Toyota’s new lane-keep assistance feature in fact steers the car back into the lane when drivers stray. For backup sensors to work in the winter, he advised, you should brush snow off the tiny circular indentations on the bumper. Some jotted notes; one woman knitted.

    “If you aren’t a person who uses technology at home, you are just lost,” said Mary Louise Seldenfleur, 80 years old, who bought a 2017 Toyota Camry.

    At Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield, in Fairfield, Calif., product experts spend as much as two hours reviewing gadgetry with new buyers, said General Manager Mo Ayubyar. The dealership offers home visits from so-called product concierges.

    Once upon a time, Mr. Ayubyar recalled, “I’d say, ‘Here are the keys. Call me if you have any questions.’” Now, tech specialists supplement the sales team.

    Doug Cooper, a rancher north of Casper, Wyo., refuses to buy a new truck, training or not. He mostly uses his pickups on dirt roads and muddy fields, no place for finicky sensors or fancy electronics that balloon the sticker price.

    Backup cameras are particularly vulnerable on the range, he said. Mr. Cooper once tried to help a friend load an elk into the truck bed, he said, and had trouble removing the tailgate because of all the camera wiring.

    “One doesn’t paint the house in a little black dress,” he said. “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”



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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”



    I have four vehicles, each with expensive factory navigation systems.

    What do I use when I travel? Well my trusty Garmin 51 of course. Love it!

    You wonder why these in-dash control systems can't be less complicated. Does anyone really use all of the features? Don't we simply want to plug in our phones and drive?

    Apple Car-Play is a step in the right direction, in my opinion. Let's hope future systems make life easier and safer for drivers.


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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    Why would you ever buy a navigational system in a car these days? My phone takes me where I want to go.

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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    "AutoTrader.com, a car-buying website, polled more than 1,000 car owners recently about car tech and more than a third said they wanted only standard features."

    Sorry, but that also reads "two thirds of car buyers prefer more technology in their vehicles.".

    I get it guys, faulty tech and nanny features are annoying. But the fact is, most new car buyers, especially younger demographics, want more tech. Just read this article, the youngest person used as an example was nearly 50 years old...

    Older people may not like the new tech features, but as stated multiple times in the article, most of these "annoying" features can be disabled, often with the "push of a single button" as in the BMW. If anything, this article demonstrates just how lazy people are. They would rather go on the record and whine in a news article, or even purchase a new "used" vehicle simply because they can't be bothered to push a button... These ancient troglodytes are the same neanderthals who from their perch in Washington, have legislated all these safety regulations that practically mandate all these "annoying" features.

    If only social security would run out fast enough...

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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    Quote Originally Posted by wallus13 View Post
    Why would you ever buy a navigational system in a car these days? My phone takes me where I want to go.
    I only "bought" it in my new Malibu since it came bundled with the car's trim level. Otherwise I agree.

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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    My Mazda6 nav system is about on a par with Tom Tom of a generation or two ago. Tom Tom being the worst of the three common Nav systems out there.

    The Garmin is going back in, the factory "nav" is amazingly primitive and incompetent.
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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    I still think it's more of a shove it down your throat transaction increase than anything.

    People over 50 buy cars too.

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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    A lot of this basically boils down to car companies not knowing how to design a good user interface if their life depended on it (which it sort of does). But some car companies (esp. some of the smaller manufacturers) do get it. It's really not that hard to design a good interface for a car. And once you experience one of the good ones, you wonder why it's so hard for everyone else.
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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    The Nav in our Outback is complete dog$hit. It's clunky, can't be programmed by the passenger when the car is moving.

    The infotainment systems from Toyota, Chrysler, and Chevrolet in the rentals that I've had were so much better. MyLink is pretty easy to use. I also got a chance to use the latest CUE interface, and it was also a very good setup (vastly superior to older CUE systems), but it has features that I would NEVER use and functionality that I would never even think to consider.

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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    My Mazda6 nav system is about on a par with Tom Tom of a generation or two ago. Tom Tom being the worst of the three common Nav systems out there.

    The Garmin is going back in, the factory "nav" is amazingly primitive and incompetent.
    This is why I don't think ditching the factory nav in favor of a "Phone as Nav" approach is such a bad idea.
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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    Quote Originally Posted by emh View Post
    But some car companies (esp. some of the smaller manufacturers) do get it. It's really not that hard to design a good interface for a car. And once you experience one of the good ones, you wonder why it's so hard for everyone else.
    I've actually found the opposite to be true. The latest generation of systems in the bigger car companies like GM and Toyota seem to have slightly more intuitive infotainment systems (with some exceptions) at least based on the rentals I get almost weekly. CUE, Sync/Touch, and Mylink had pretty big flaws when they came out, but they've come a VERY long way in the past 12-18 months.

    Between our Honda and our Subaru, we have a pair of really horrible infotainment setups in our cars. Honda is slightly better, but I think it' a slightly newer design. The Subaru is just horrible.
    Last edited by member12; 05-11-2017 at 10:58 AM.

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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    OnStar is easy, blue button, speak to someone, tell them address of your destination, they send route, and off you go, or, you can just push it from your telephone to the car

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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    Quote Originally Posted by eaton53 View Post
    This is why I don't think ditching the factory nav in favor of a "Phone as Nav" approach is such a bad idea.
    No I don't either. My fallback when all else fails is Google Maps on my iPhone. They always know where they're going. Why the makers seem to think they can make a GPS that functions is beyond me.

    I think the Optimas etc. have the my link/whatever that uses the phone's systems for navigation purposes. This wheel has been invented. No need to fix it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    OnStar is easy, blue button, speak to someone, tell them address of your destination, they send route, and off you go, or, you can just push it from your telephone to the car
    I don't want to phone someone, I want to punch the buttons and get the answer. I'm not crazy about talking on the phone.
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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbide View Post
    I still think it's more of a shove it down your throat transaction increase than anything.

    People over 50 buy cars too.
    Absolutely.

    Want leather? Then you'll NEED the Tech package which enables you to reverse without looking. Oh and heated seats, now you'll need the Convenience pack which watches the road so you don't have to.
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    Re: QOTD: “Detroit is trying to make us work in a tuxedo.”

    My way of avoiding ridiculous tech is to buy base models of cars, they never have all the electronic gizmos--which clearly are part of the distracted-driving problem. Death rate on the roads is up for the first time in decades.
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