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The increasing global distribution of automobiles necessitates that the design of in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) is appropriate for the regions to which they are being exported. Differences between regions such as culture, language, environment and traffic context can have important influences on the usability and acceptance of IVIS and, as a consequence, on driving performance and safety. This pilot study examined the cross-regional factors that may influence IVIS preferences and comprehension, across three regions: Australia, China and the United States. The study used an online questionnaire to examine drivers' preferences for, and comprehension of, a range of surface-level aspects of IVIS interfaces. Cross-regional factors including cultural values, demographic and driving pattern data were also collected. The study was conducted locally within Australia, employing a sample of recently migrated American and Chinese and local Australian students. Regional differences were found in terms of current technology use, preferences for IVIS input control types and labels, and in the recognition and comprehension of IVIS functions and features. These findings are discussed within the framework of relevant regional differences. Based on the findings, a number of general and region-specific IVIS design recommendations are offered.