J.D. Power Reports: Automakers Struggle to Impress Owners with Increased Usefulness of In-Vehicle Technologies And Features on All-New and Redesigned Models Dodge and Porsche Each Receive Three Segment-Level Awards; Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan Each Receive Two

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Although manufacturers are putting more and more technologies and functionality in their new and redesigned models, satisfaction with these features is not significantly higher among owners of those models than among owners of carryover models, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM released today.

The APEAL Study, now in its 19th year, serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle appeal. Owners evaluate their vehicle across 77 attributes, which combine into an overall APEAL score that is measured on a 1,000-point scale.

The study finds that APEAL scores for all-new and redesigned models continue to see a lift in APEAL scores compared with carryover models (805 vs. 791, respectively). However, while satisfaction in areas such as fuel economy and the feel and styling of the interior is higher among owners of all-new and redesigned models than among owners of carryover models, there is less differentiation in terms of the usefulness of the controls and functions for navigation, voice recognition and other technology applications.

"Manufacturers often look to new features and technologies to keep their vehicles fresh and attractive, but designing systems that consumers find intuitive and easy to use has been a challenge," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power. "Newly launched models surpass carryovers in impressing owners with the look and feel of the vehicle. But as we also see in our 2014 Initial Quality Study, owners are not as comfortable with the functionality of the features. To differentiate new models from the pack, automakers must continue to design systems that are not just attractive, but also intuitive and easy to use."

The overall APEAL score in 2014 averages 794, which is a 1-point decrease from 2013. Fuel economy is the only category in which there has been improvement year over year (+6 points), which is due in part to an average decline of 3 percent in fuel prices during the survey period, compared with 2013. Owner-reported average mpg also improves to 25.0 mpg from 24.5 in 2013, resulting in more favorable perceptions of both driving range and mileage.

"Despite improvements this year, fuel economy continues to be the lowest-scoring category in the study by a wide margin," said Stephens. "While many factors influence the fuel performance of a vehicle, an important factor is how the engine and transmission are tuned by the manufacturers. Automakers must find the right balance between owner expectations of fuel economy and areas that affect the driving experience, such as horsepower and transmission performance, which is not an easy task. Customers are not always happy with the trade-off between those characteristics."

2014 APEAL Rankings Highlights

Porsche is the highest-ranked nameplate in APEAL for the 10th consecutive year. Hyundai ranks highest among non-premium brands in the study. Hyundai is also the highest-ranked non-premium brand in the J.D. Power 2014 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), marking the first time a nameplate has ranked highest among non-premium brands in both APEAL and IQS in the same year.

Both Dodge and Porsche receive three segment awards each: Dodge for the Challenger, Charger and Dart; and Porsche for the 911, Boxster and Cayenne.

Receiving two segment awards each are Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan: Audi for the A8 (tie) and Q5; Ford for the F-150 LD and F-250/F-350 Super Duty; Mercedes-Benz for the CLS-Class and S-Class (tie); and Nissan for the Rogue and Quest.

Also receiving awards are the BMW 4 Series; GMC Yukon; Honda Ridgeline; Hyundai Accent; Kia Soul; Land Rover Range Rover; Mazda MAZDA6; MINI Countryman; Toyota Highlander; and Volkswagen GTI.

The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive. The study is used extensively by manufacturers worldwide to help them design and develop more appealing vehicles and by consumers to help them in their purchase decisions. The 2014 APEAL Study is based on responses gathered between February and May 2014 from more than 86,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2014 model-year cars and light trucks who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership. The APEAL Study complements the Initial Quality Study (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced by owners during the first 90 days of ownership.

2014 APEAL Nameplate Index Ranking
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Porsche

882


Jaguar

862


Audi

858


Land Rover

853


BMW

849


Lexus

844


Mercedes-Benz

842


Lincoln

835


Cadillac

826


Infiniti

826


Acura

814


Volvo

812


Hyundai

804


Ram

800


Volkswagen

796


MINI

795


Industry Average

794


Buick

792


Chevrolet

791


GMC

791


Kia

791


Dodge

790


Mazda

790


Ford

789


Nissan

786


Chrysler

783


Honda

783


Toyota

783


Scion

779


Fiat

768


Subaru

766


Jeep

762


Mitsubishi

748




Premium Average

840

Non-Premium Average

785





Top Three Models per Segment
Car Segments

Small Car
Highest Ranked: Hyundai Accent
Ford Fiesta
Chevrolet Sonic

Compact Car
Highest Ranked: Dodge Dart
Volkswagen Beetle
Nissan Sentra

Compact Premium Car
Highest Ranked: BMW 4 Series
Audi A5
Audi A4

Compact Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Volkswagen GTI
Hyundai Veloster
MINI Cooper

Compact Premium Sporty Car*
Highest Ranked: Porsche Boxster
Porsche Cayman

Midsize Car
Highest Ranked: Mazda MAZDA6
Kia Optima
Hyundai Sonata

Midsize Sporty Car*
Highest Ranked: Dodge Challenger

Midsize Premium Car
Highest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
Audi A7
Audi A6

Midsize Premium Sporty Car
Highest Ranked: Porsche 911
Chevrolet Corvette
Jaguar F-Type

Large Car
Highest Ranked: Dodge Charger
Chevrolet SS
Kia Cadenza

Large Premium Car*
Highest Ranked: Audi A8 (tie)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class (tie)

SUV, MPV, Van, Pickup Segments

Small SUV
Highest Ranked: MINI Countryman
Buick Encore
Volkswagen Tiguan

Compact SUV
Highest Ranked: Nissan Rogue
Ford Escape
Jeep Cherokee

Compact Premium SUV
Highest Ranked: Audi Q5
BMW X3
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Compact MPV*
Highest Ranked: Kia Soul

Midsize SUV
Highest Ranked: Toyota Highlander
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Dodge Durango

Midsize Premium SUV
Highest Ranked: Porsche Cayenne
BMW X5
Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Midsize Pickup*
Highest Ranked: Honda Ridgeline
Nissan Frontier

Minivan
Highest Ranked: Nissan Quest
Honda Odyssey
Toyota Sienna

Large SUV
Highest Ranked: GMC Yukon
Nissan Armada
Ford Expedition

Large Premium SUV
Highest Ranked: Land Rover Range Rover
Infiniti QX80
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Large Light Duty Pickup
Highest Ranked: Ford F-150 LD
GMC Sierra LD
Chevrolet Silverado LD

Large Heavy Duty Pickup
Highest Ranked: Ford F-250/
F-350 Super Duty
Chevrolet Silverado HD (tie)
Ram 2500/3500 HD (tie)

* No other model in this segment performs above segment average.
Note: For a segment award to be issued, there must be at least three models with 80 percent of market sales in any given award segment.  In the city car segment, these criteria were not met, so no award has been presented.

Source: J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM

Media Relations Contacts
John Tews; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com
Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; 805-418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules www.jdpower.com/about-us/press-release-info
About McGraw Hill Financial www.mhfi.com 

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SOURCE J.D. Power



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