J.D. Power Study Claims New Cars 'More Appealing Than Ever' in 2017

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
j d power study claims new cars more appealing than ever in 2017

We’ve always been slightly hesitant to share J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study, especially given how easily analysis can be clouded by customers failing to understand the technology within their own vehicles. However, the market research firm still provides an interesting peek into what consumers seem to covet versus what they actually purchase.

In J.D. Power’s U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study, consumers were asked how they “feel” about their vehicles on a more visceral level in order to evaluate the car’s overall appeal — or its APEAL, as it were.

Based on a 1,000-point scale, the 2017 survey showed overall satisfaction increased from a score of 801 points to 810 — the highest in the study’s 22-years of existence. Perched at the top of the most appealing brands list is Porsche, for a 13th consecutive year of glory, but it didn’t record the most marked improvement.

Chrysler did.

Considering FCA has languished near the bottom of nearly every reliability or enjoyment survey in recent years, Chrysler’s 41-point jump is a big surprise. However, buyers of the Chrysler Pacifica seemed plussed enough to make a huge difference for the brand. It was the highest-rated minivan of the year, despite not being able to outsell the Dodge Caravan. However, that’s likely down to the Caravan being the far better bargain, which is what drives most purchasing decisions — something J.D. Power seems woefully ignorant of.

Dodge’s Challenger also received special accolades for being the “midsize sporty car” with the highest overall appeal in 2017.

It wasn’t enough to bring any of FCA’s brands up to Porsche’s APEAL score of 884, though. Chrysler topped out at 815. Germany dominated with the highest-ranked brands and models overall. With the exception of Hyundai’s Genesis (869), the top ranked brands were BMW (855), Audi (854), and Mercedes-Benz (851).

While Mercedes possessed an exceptionally high average score, didn’t have the standout models BMW and Audi had. Audi’s A3, A4, and A7 all led within their perspective segments — as did BMW’s M2 and X1. Porsche also had leaders with the Macan, Cayenne, and 911 but, based on the lack of competition, it’s almost unfair to mention them.

Segment leaders from other automakers included the Ford F-Series, Lincoln Continental, Chevrolet Bolt, Chevy Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade, Mini Cooper/Clubman, Honda CR-V, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Altima, Nissan Murano, and Kia’s Cadenza, Niro, and Soul.

These were the vehicles owners evaluated as possessing the highest emotional attachment and level of excitement within their respective segments. As always, J.D. Power didn’t provide a predictably useful breakdown of exactly how it measured the 77 attributes consumers were supposed to weigh in on. But it did say metrics were based on responses from roughly 70,000 new vehicle buyers or lessees after the first 90 days of ownership. When pressed for a more comprehensive explanation of the study, the firm provided its standard response: that detailed information is reserved for the automakers willing to purchase it.

Ideally, J.D. Power wants manufacturers to know they’re making the proper moves to make consumers happy.

“Many automakers are getting better and better at giving consumers what they want in a vehicle,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, in a statement. “The industry is doing a very good job of creating vehicles customers like across every segment, and the APEAL Study identifies why this is. One clear reason is that non-premium vehicles are increasingly offering technology and safety features found in premium vehicles.”

Of course, if manufacturers want to know exactly how to get an edge over their competition, they’ll have to pay. Market research is a business after all.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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3 of 21 comments
  • I applaud Fiasler wholeheartedly if these results truly indicate a genuine improvement in the quality of its vehicles. (About goddamned time - oops, sorry.) And I'll express an utter lack of surprise if this is later revealed to be more the result of "bring your survey down to the dealership, and we'll both fill it out while we run your shiny new CharLlengerIfica300GranDartRAM! through the car wash."

  • Thornmark Thornmark on Jul 26, 2017

    >>Segment leaders from other automakers included ........ Nissan Altima

    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Jul 27, 2017

      If your standards are low enough to consider an Altima in the first place, you are unlikely to be disappointed by it. If your previous car was a 10yo clapped out whatever, a new Altima will probably feel like a spaceship.

  • Analoggrotto As we Tesla owners receive our life energy from the greatest son of the gods of all time, Elon Musk; His cherubs and His nephilim may remove whatever they wish from us for unto him we owe all for our superiority above all the rest of humanity.
  • Kcflyer Nice to see California giving NY some competition to be the worst run state in the union.
  • Wolfwagen I see my comment was deleted (BTW nice way to censor) so i will say it again:GTFO here with the pseudo "wealth distribution" BS. A crime is a crime is a crime.Its a slippery slope, what happens next, Jail a rich guy when he kills a pedestrian and let the poor guy who kills a pedestrian walk? What about if the poor guy is a crappy driver and has the record to prove it then what?Or we could go crazy and just institute the death penalty across the board for every driving infraction. That will make people better drivers or stop driving altogether which will make the greenies happy (damm it I just gave them an idea - SOB!!!)
  • Wolfwagen No. Bring back the J80 with an inline six and reduced electronics (i.e. no giant touch screen) and they will probably sell like hotcakes
  • David S. " test vehicles sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic."??? Test vehicles are programmed by humans, HUMANS sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic, Duh!!