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Researchers Find Dashboard Switches Swings Customer Choice of £50,000 Cars

WMG Switch Research - Tom Wellings & Rebecca Caine
Tom Wellings & Rebecca Cain
( Print Version)
Researchers in the University of Warwick's Warwick Manufacturing Group have been working with Ford's Premier Automotive Group to capitalize on the fact that the mere feel of the switches on a £1000 dashboard could be the deciding factor in whether customers purchase £35,000 to £55,000 luxury cars or remain loyal to the luxury car brand they first purchase.

It has long been understood that simple things such as the feel of a dashboard can have a disproportionately large impact on the choices customers make when purchasing luxury cars. The simple positive feel of a switch can be the final factor that swings a decision to purchase a car. On the other hand daily use of switches which for some reason irritate a driver can push that customer to try another brand of car when they next change their vehicle. Despite understanding this motivating factor, there has been surprisingly little real study about precisely what people prefer about their car switches.

In many other situations in life one might prefer a firm switch with a satisfying click indicating clearly the device has worked, but Warwick Manufacturing Group researchers Tom Wellings and Dr. Rebecca Cain have found that customers placed smoothness and quietness of operation at the top of the list for switches in luxury cars.

The research team led by Dr. Mark Williams are now developing techniques that can help automotive engineers measure and enhance these factors, turning these imprecise expressions of customer preference into quantifiable engineering measurements and techniques that will allow engineers to create the experience premium vehicle customers desire when using their car controls.

This work is being carried out in the Craftsmanship project which forms one part of a £70 million research partnership (the Premium Automotive R&D Programme) on high value premium products between the University of Warwick's Warwick Manufacturing Group and Premier Automotive Group - Ford Motor Company's premium vehicle business group made up of Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover & Volvo. The partnership is funded by the Regional Development agency Advantage West Midlands and also works with a range of Midlands SMEs that supply automotive companies. In total the new Centre helps secure around 50,000 jobs.

For further Information please contact:

Tom Wellings, Craftsmanship Project,
Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 575362

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager,
University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 523708
or 07767 655860 email: