Which vehicle brand is the most appealing among customers in the United States? To answer that, a definite study has to be taken. Good thing is that for around 22 years, J.D. Power has been conducting its own study measuring emotional attachment and level of excitement that owners feel from their own new vehicles.
For this year, J.D. Power conducted the 2017 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. And among the 32 brands that were included in the survey, Porsche was considered as the most appealing. The 2017 APEAL Study measured the answers of nearly 70,000 buyers and lessees of new (2017 model year) vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The survey – conducted from February through May 2017 – considered 77 attributes, which are then combined into an overall APEAL index score as measured on a 1,000-point scale.
Porsche received the highest index score of 884 points, allowing it to dominate the survey for the 13th time in a row. Only 15 points behind is Genesis at 869 points. Rounding up the top 5 were the big three German luxury carmakers -- BMW (855), Audi (854) and Mercedes-Benz (851).
Quite a number of brands scored huge improvements. Leading these brands is Chrysler, with a score that surged by 41 points (from 2016 survey) to 815. German brand also improved by 30 points. Japanese brands Nissan and Honda also leaped high in terms of overall index score, gaining 27 points and 25 points respectively.
Overall, the average APEAL index of the auto industry in the 2017 survey was 810, or nine points more than its score in 2016. This was thanks to better scores in nine of the 10 categories measured as well as thanks to the fact that 19 of the 32 brands increased their scores compared with 2016.
Premium brands are still the most appealing, getting an average score of 845 (plus one point). Not far behind are mass market brands, which average APEAL index score stands at 804, thereby narrowing the gap between the two segments to 41 points – the new all-time low.
Dave Sargent, vice president for global automotive at J.D. Power, explained the narrower gap: mass market vehicles are increasingly offering technology and safety features usually found in premium vehicles. As for the higher overall score, Sargent noted that many carmakers are getting better in giving customers what they want in a vehicle. He added that carmakers are now creating higher quality vehicles, without having to sacrifice performance, styling, utility or features.
The 2017 US APEAL -- a complement to the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study -- is employed by carmakers to help them create more appealing vehicles, as well as by customers in making purchase decisions.