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Porsche once again grabs the top spot (for the sixth time in a row) in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study. This year's study asked 76,000 owners 90 days after purchasing their 2010 model-year cars "how gratifying their new vehicle is to own and drive." The answer, for the first time since 1997, was that the domestic brands were more "appealing" as a whole than the imports (the domestics earned a score of 787 on a 1,000-point scale – 13 points greater than the imports).

When it comes down to specific awards (as shown in the segment-level graphics), Ford leads with five. The automaker earned one each for the Expedition, Explorer Sport Trac, Flex, Fusion and Taurus. Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen each garner two awards. The Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Avalanche, both segment leaders, are the only two models that ranked highest in the 2010 APEAL study and in the 2010 Initial Quality Study (IQS) announced in June. Suzuki is credited with the greatest improvement this year, while Jeep drops one slot from last year's 2009 APEAL Study and falls to the bottom of the list for 2010. Check out the gallery for the graphics, and read the full press release after the break.


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Discussion Starter #2

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 27 July 2011 — As the auto industry battles through another difficult year, vehicle manufacturers are fighting to win customers by offering the most appealing vehicles in history, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM released today.

Vehicle Appeal at a Historic High
The study finds that overall vehicle appeal has reached an all-time high since the study’s inception in 1996, with the industry average increasing to 781 on a 1,000-point scale (up from 778 in 2010). Furthermore, recently launched all-new and redesigned models are substantially more appealing than their carryover counterparts, widening the gap in score for a second consecutive year. In 2011, the gap is 29 points, compared with 18 points in 2010 and 10 points in 2009. This improvement is partially driven by higher ratings for vehicle styling and fuel economy provided by owners of recently launched vehicles.

“The auto industry has taken a battering during the past few years,” said David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, 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. Offering highly appealing vehicles is one of the primary means to succeed.”

Vehicle Appeal and Initial Quality
While the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), which was released in June, found that all-new and redesigned models have more problems, on average, than do carryover models, the 2011 APEAL Study finds that these same models are more likely to offer the styling, performance and features that customers are looking for.

“There are 2 sides of the quality coin: things gone right and things gone wrong,” said Sargent. “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. In general, customers are also willing to pay more for vehicles that combine high appeal with high initial quality.”

Model-Level and Nameplate Rankings
BMW and Dodge each capture three segment-level awards. BMW models receiving awards are the X3, Z4 Roadster and 5 Series, while Dodge receives awards for the Challenger, Charger and Durango. The Charger, Durango, X3 and 5 Series are all redesigned for the 2011 model year. Ford and Honda capture 2 model-level awards each, with Ford receiving awards for the all-new Fiesta and F-150 LD and Honda receiving awards for the Ridgeline and redesigned Odyssey.

Also receiving awards are the Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Equus, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus IS, MINI Countryman, Nissan Armada, Porsche Cayenne, Scion xB, Suzuki Kizashi and Volkswagen GTI. Of these, the Countryman, Equus and Volt are all-new models, while the Cayenne is redesigned. The Equus achieves the highest APEAL score of any model in the industry in 2011. This is the 1st year that a model other than the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS or Mercedes-Benz S-Class has led the overall model ranking.

3 models rank highest in their respective segments in both the 2011 APEAL Study and the 2011 IQS: the Dodge Challenger, Ford F-150 LD and Honda Ridgeline.

Porsche is the highest-ranking nameplate in the 2011 APEAL Study for a 7th consecutive year. Hyundai improves from 2010 more than any other nameplate this year, while Jeep and Chrysler also improve considerably.

The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than 80 vehicle attributes. The 2011 APEAL Study is based on responses gathered between February and May 2011 from more than 73,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2011 model-year cars and trucks who were surveyed after the 1st 90 days of ownership. The APEAL Study complements the Initial Quality Study (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced by owners during the 1st 90 days of ownership.


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Discussion Starter #3

DETROIT -- 3 Chevrolet models captured top rankings in their segment, the most of any brand in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study released today.

The study named 3 Chevys best in segment in Power's 21 categories: the Sonic for subcompact cars, Volt for compact cars and Avalanche for large pickup.

Porsche continued to dominate the overall study, finishing 1st among brands for the 8th consecutive year, J.D. Power said. Dodge, Jaguar and Ram posted the largest year-over-year gains, increasing their scores by 21, 20 and 19 points, respectively, the report said.

The annual APEAL study "examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than 80 vehicle attributes," J.D. Power says.

7 other brands each received 2 model awards: Audi (A6 and A8), Dodge (Challenger and Charger), Ford (Expedition and Flex), Kia (Optima in a tie and Soul), Mini (Countryman and coupe/roadster), Nissan (Frontier and Quest) and Porsche (Cayenne and 911).

On a brand level, luxury brands captured 13 of the top 14 positions, led by Porsche, Jaguar and BMW. The 4 mass-market brands that finished above industry average are Volkswagen, Ram, Ford and Chrysler.

Smaller vehicle scores rise

But in a surprise finding, the study found many American buyers are choosing smaller vehicles but liking them more than the bigger models they replaced.

"Historically the smaller the vehicle, the less appealing it is," said David Sargent, Power's vice president of global automotive. "But people who are downsizing now often find the smaller vehicle is better than the car they replaced."

3 out of 5 new-vehicle buyers stick with the same size they had before, but those changing sizes are more than twice as likely to downsize than go larger, the study found.

More than a quarter of the new vehicles bought or leased in the study replaced larger ones. But those buyers, who are on average trading in 6-year-old models, are no longer sacrificing by going smaller.

"Now downsized doesn't mean downgraded," Sargent said. "For example, the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact delivers a high level of functionality and appeal that before would have required buying a mid-sized car to get. And the Chevy Volt, Volkswagen Golf and Buick Verano are every bit as appealing as a 4- or 5-year-old mid-sized."

And it shows in the scores. In this year's APEAL study, scores for the compact/subcompact segment averaged 765 identical to the score for the midsized segment in the 2008 study. Similarly, this year's midsized premium segment matched the 2008 score of large premium vehicles.

What's different? Today's small vehicles aren't the "econo-boxes" they once were, Sargent said. Today's smaller vehicles are more substantial and better performing than in the past, with many features and appointments that they lacked in the past.

Overall gains

This year, the average score for the entire industry improved 7 points to 788, an unusually large year-to-year improvement, Sargent said.

The 74,000 respondents in this APEAL study are the same group used in Power's Initial Quality Study released last month, reflecting vehicles purchased between November 2011 and February 2012 after 90 days of ownership.

But the studies use separate sets of questions and measure different attributes, Sargent said. He informally calls the IQS the "things gone wrong" study and APEAL "things gone right."

But both studies showed greater than normal improvements this year, Sargent said.

"The industry is turning out better cars than it ever has before," he said. "They have both better quality and more appeal."

You can reach Jesse Snyder at [email protected].​

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Discussion Starter #4
Fun to Drive

Honda and Acura both improved in an annual survey of which brands are the most fun to drive, though Honda remains below average.

The J.D. Power and Associates report , issued today, shows that new-car drivers were generally more pleased with their vehicles than a year ago, and that switching to a smaller vehicle segment does not necessarily diminish the pleasure of driving.

This is the research group’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study, a lesser-known companion to the company’s Initial Quality study that was issued last month.

Honda scored 771 on a 1,000-point scale, which ranked 25th out of 34 brands. Last year, the brand had 762 points, which was 28th out of 32 brands.

Acura, which is Honda’s luxury brand, scored 816, which was 10th. Last year, it scored 808, which was 11th.

Honda has a major employment presence in central Ohio, where it assembles the Honda Accord and Acura TL sedans and the Honda CR-V crossover, among others.

The industry average was 788, up from 781.

The top performer was Porsche with 887, the brand’s 8th consecutive year on top. Jaguar and BMW also held their places in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

The top 10 finishers were all luxury brands. The top non-luxury brand was Volkswagen with 812, which ranked 13th.

Suzuki maintained its spot at the bottom, with 745.
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