The results of the 2011 US Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study are in contrast to those of the 2011 Initial Quality Study released late last month, which revealed the quality of all-new models had decreased for the first time in five years.
J.D. Power and Associates vice president of global vehicle research, David Sargent, said there were two sides of the quality coin: “things gone right and things gone wrong”.
“Both are of critical importance, and models that perform well on both measures generate higher levels of recommendation and, ultimately, higher loyalty to the brand,” Mr Sargent said.“In general, customers are also willing to pay more for vehicles that combine high appeal with high initial quality.”
Mr Sargent said the industry’s focus on making appealing cars was crucial during its recovery from the recent economic slump.
“It is clear that throughout this period, automakers have never lost sight of the fact that survival – and ultimately success – only comes from winning over customers in the showroom,” he said.“Offering highly appealing vehicles is one of the primary means to succeed.”
The industry average APEAL rating of 781 points out of 1000 was the highest recorded since the study was first introduced in 1996.
Porsche led the way with an APEAL rating of 879 points, well clear of Jaguar (857) and BMW (850) who filled the podium. European cars filled the top six positions, with Lexus the highest-ranked non-Euro in seventh spot (827).
Japanese cars had the least appeal to new car buyers in the US, with seven filling the bottom nine places on the APEAL table. Suzuki was clearly the lowest ranked at 734 points.
Top ranking vehicles by segment:
- Sub-compact – Ford Fiesta
- Compact – Chevrolet Volt
- Compact sports – Volkswagen GTI
- Compact premium sports – BMW Z4
- Entry premium – Lexus IS
- Midsize – Suzuki Kizashi
- Midsize sports – Dodge Challenger
- Midsize premium – BMW 5 Series
- Large premium – Hyundai Equus
- Large – Dodge Charger
- Compact SUV – MINI Countryman
- Compact MPV – Scion xB
- Entry premium SUV – BMW X3
- Midsize SUV – Dodge Durango
- Large SUV – Nissan Armada
- Midsize premium SUV – Porsche Cayenne
- Large premium SUV – Range Rover (Vogue in Australia)
- Midsize pick-up – Honda Ridgeline
- Large pick-up – Ford F-150 LD
- Minivan – Honda Odyssey