New Vehicle Satisfaction Improves As Mass Market Brands Close The Gap On Luxury Automakers

J.D. Power has released its latest Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study which found that consumers are increasingly satisfied with their new vehicle.

The study examines how new vehicle owners assess their purchase after 90 days of ownership. They’re asked to rate 90 vehicle attributes in 10 different categories that include everything from driving dynamics to the how well the infotainment system works.

This year’s study found that the average satisfaction level was 823 on a 1,000 point scale. That’s a slight increase from last year’s 820, but it’s worth noting that 22 of the 32 brands in the study saw improvements from 2018.

Getting straight to the winners, Porsche was the top rated brand as the company had an overall APEAL score of 891. BMW and Genesis tied for second at 868, while they were followed by Audi (867) and Volvo (863).

Ram was the most-improved brand and its 26 point swing from 2018 enabled them to claim the title as top mass market brand with a score of 851. They were followed by Dodge (848), MINI (835), Volkswagen (829) and Ford (828).

At the other end of the spectrum, Mitsubishi came dead last with a score of 773. This put them behind Buick (800) and Subaru (807). The three lowest scoring luxury brands were Infiniti (828), Acura (832) and Jaguar (843).

While there was a 118 difference between the highest and lowest rated brands, J.D. Power said gap between luxury and mass market brands narrowed to its lowest point in history. The difference between the two groups was 35 points and that’s down from 50 points three years ago.

When it comes to models, the Audi A7 was the highest rated vehicle overall. It was one of two segment awards picked up by Volkswagen AG as the Porsche Cayenne was named the best mid-size premium SUV.

Ford had the most segment wins as the Expedition, F-150, Ranger, Super Duty and Lincoln Navigator were all ranked best-in-class. They were closely followed by BMW which grabbed four wins for the 2-Series, X4, MINI Cooper and MINI Countryman.

Other notable models include the Chevrolet Blazer, GMC Terrain, Honda Accord / Odyssey, Nissan Altima / Maxima and Toyota Camry / Yaris. Rounding out the list is the Mercedes C-Class, Dodge Challenger and Kia Forte.

According to J.D. Power’s Vice President of Global Automotive, Dave Sargent, “Satisfaction with new technology is improving, but infotainment remains an area where automakers can get better.” He also noted “Owners have higher satisfaction if their vehicle is equipped with safety features such as blind spot monitor, collision avoidance and lane departure warning. This should serve as a positive sign for manufacturers, as these features are some of the early building blocks for fully automated vehicles.”

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