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Automakers Enhance Their APEAL, with Koreans Setting the Pace

Safety tech wins thumbs up, but balky infotainment systems generate grumbles.

by on Jul.22, 2015

Mini showed the biggest improvement overall, thanks to the new Cooper hardtop.

When it comes to adding new high-tech hardware to their vehicles, automakers are generating a mix of both praise and complaints, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

On the whole, new vehicle buyers have rated their 2015 models higher than ever, and Power’s 20th annual APEAL study gives a chunk of the credit to the latest safety technologies, such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning systems. At the same time, motorists registered a number of complaints about faulty infotainment hardware and balky voice recognition systems.

At the Cutting Edge!

With rare exception, automakers saw their APEAL scores improve this year, the overall average rising to 798 points out of a possible 1,000. But the Korean makers collectively posted the biggest improvements, while the Japanese lagged behind the industry on the whole.


GM Struggles to Change Perceptions

Getting out from under the shadow of “Government Motors.”

by on Oct.11, 2013

The Chevrolet Sonic has made quite a splash since its debut for 2012.

The quality of General Motors vehicles is getting better but consumers still tend to believe cars from Toyota and Honda are more reliable, according to independent research. And that’s a serious problem the Detroit maker is struggling to overcome, particularly along the East and West Coasts where GM lags well behind its import rivals.

The irony is that General Motors products have actually bested Toyota in a number of recent surveys, including the closely followed J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey. GM was the top maker in the 2013 IQS while Chevrolet landed in the Top Five, a rarified group normally limited to luxury brands. Meanwhile, the maker’s Chevy Sonic subcompact topped its segment for the second year running in Power’s APEAL, or Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout survey.

Fueling Your Need for News!

That prompted a celebration at GM’s Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit this week, where Roman Lesnau, of J.D. Power Associates told employees that their work has been a critical part of improving the maker’s quality and customer satisfaction scores.


Volkswagen Group Tops Latest JD Power APEAL Study

GM, Ford follow close behind as Toyota slides.

by on Jul.24, 2013

Shining bright: the Porsche Boxster was one of the highest-ranked models in the 2013 JD Power APEAL.

Volkswagen grabbed the top spot in the latest J.D. Power APEAL study, a survey that focuses on the things that surprise and delight car buyers rather than the problems that frustrate them. The German maker’s Porsche and Audi brands topped the annual report while five individual VW Group models led their individual product segments.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. followed close behind. In fact, GM’s Chevrolet division had more segment winners than any other brand, a sudden surge that echoed Chevy’s unexpectedly strong performance in J.D. Power’s closely watched Initial Quality Survey, or IQS, last month.

An Appealing News Source!

Another surprise came with the poor performance of Toyota. Though its premium Lexus division landed in fifth place in the latest APEAL study, the flagship Toyota brand came in fifth from the bottom, two spots lower than the Japanese maker’s youth-oriented Scion division.

Perhaps less unexpected was the continued dominance of well-equipped luxury vehicles over mainstream brands and products. Only a handful of non-luxury brands scored above the industry average and none landed in the Top 10.


Porsche is Industry’s Most APEAL-ing Brand

But all-new Hyundai Equus is the most appealing new product, according to new J.D. Power study.

by on Jul.27, 2011

The 2011 Hyundai Equus is the market's most APEAL-ing model, according to a new study.

Porsche is far and above the most “APEAL”-ing brand when it comes to American auto buyers, but the all-new Hyundai Equus, the Korean maker’s first premium luxury sedan, was far and away the highest-rated individual model in the latest annual APEAL study by J.D. Power and Associates.

Short for Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout, the APEAL Study takes a very different look at the automotive market compared to traditional defect-based surveys, such as Power’s Initial Quality Study, or IQS.  It looks at what might be called “things-gone-right,” the surprise-and-delight features that might make one model a standout even when compared to a product with a lower overall things-gone-wrong quality rating.

News you can use!

By that measure, the 2011 models are more appealing, in fact reaching a historic high for the study, which was first conducted in 1996.  On a 1,000-point scale, the average 2011 model scored 781, up from 778 last year.  Significantly, the industry seems to be figuring out what it takes to make their products more enticing, as demonstrated by the class of 2011.  All-new 2011 models, on average, scored 29 points higher than holdover products – the biggest gap since the APEAL survey was launched.