J.D. Powers’ Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study shows improved perceptions of new new car owners. The study measures owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement across 77 attributes, ranging from the power they feel when they step on the gas to the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat after the first 90 days of ownership. These attributes are combined into an overall APEAL index score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale.
In this year’s study, the industry average APEAL index increases to 810 points (on a 1,000-point scale), propelled by significantly better scores in 9 of the 10 categories measured and 19 of the 32 brands in the study making positive gains in their performance, compared with 2016.
“Many automakers are getting better and better at giving consumers what they want in a vehicle,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power. “The industry is doing a very good job of creating vehicles customers like across every segment, and the APEAL study identifies why this is. One clear reason is that non-premium vehicles are increasingly offering technology and safety features found in premium vehicles.”
Following are some of the study’s key findings:
Premium and mass market brands are getting closer. The average APEAL index score for the non-premium segment (804) improves by 10 points year over year, while the premium segment (845) improves by just 1 point. The gap between the two segments has narrowed to an all-time low of 41 points. Some vehicles deliver outstanding levels of APEAL as well as IQS. Eight models receiving APEAL segment awards also receive awards in the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM: BMW 2 Series; Chrysler Pacifica; Kia Cadenza; Kia Niro; Kia Soul; MINI Cooper; Porsche 911; and Porsche Macan. The all-new Genesis brand ranks second in both APEAL and IQS this year, while Porsche ranks top in APEAL and third in IQS.
“Manufacturers are making ever-higher quality vehicles, but this is not coming at the expense of performance, styling, utility or features,” Sargent added.
Porsche ranks highest in overall APEAL for the 13th consecutive year, with an index score of 884. Genesis ranks second overall (869) followed by BMW (855), Audi (854) and Mercedes-Benz (851).
Chrysler is the most improved brand (815), with a 41-point improvement from 2016. Other brands with strong improvements include MINI (+30 points), Nissan (+27) and Honda (+25).
Segment-Level Model APEAL Awards by Corporation
The parent company receiving the most model-level awards for its various brands is Volkswagen AG (six model-level awards), followed by BMW with four.
- Volkswagen AG: Audi A3; Audi A4; Audi A7; Porsche 911; Porsche Cayenne; and Porsche Macan
- BMW AG: BMW 2 Series; BMW X1; MINI Clubman; and MINI Cooper.
- Ford Motor Co.: Ford F-150; Ford Super Duty; and Lincoln Continental
- General Motors Co.: Cadillac Escalade; Chevrolet Bolt; and Chevrolet Tahoe
- Hyundai Motor Co.: Kia Cadenza; Kia Niro; and Kia Soul
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Challenger
Honda Motor Co.: Honda CR-V and Honda Ridgeline
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.: Nissan Altima and Nissan Murano
The Porsche Macan receives a model-level award for the third consecutive year. The BMW 2 Series; BMW X1; Chevrolet Tahoe; Kia Soul; MINI Clubman; and Porsche 911 receive a model-level award for the second consecutive year.
Nine of the 10 categories measured in the study improve in 2017, with HVAC and Visibility and Safety posting the largest gain: up 12 points (on a 1,000-point scale) year over year.
- Driving Dynamics
- Visibility and Safety
- Storage and Space
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
- Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation (ACEN)
- Fuel Economy