By on July 26, 2017

2017 chrysler pacifica

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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21 Comments on “J.D. Power Study Claims New Cars ‘More Appealing Than Ever’ in 2017...”

  • avatar

    Well duh, we all want a new car.

  • avatar

    “Segment leaders from other automakers included the Ford F-Series, Lincoln Continental, Chevrolet Bolt, Chevy Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade…”

    Unpossible. Buyers of all these vehicles do so because they’re forced to, no other reason. They have no virtues and no positive traits. How can you be satisfied with a product everyone hates?

  • avatar

    JD Power is biased against FCA, and thus their reporting on positive aspects of FCA must be false and biased.

    • 0 avatar

      I would say the opposite JD powers is too kind to FCA. FCA is plagued with reliability problems Pacifica is no exception and in fact Hybrid production was halted due to critical issues.

      Sergio is simply squeezing money from Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge and Ram to build up Maserati and Alfa, once that is done more than likely he will sell off Jeep and Ram to raise more capital.

      • 0 avatar

        Considering that Jeep and Ram have made a lot of money for FCA, I doubt they’d be all that keen to let them go, assuming anyone would even be interested in buying them.

        As for the 41-point improvement, it gives me hope, albeit a wary one in light of certain recent recalls, that they can finally stop having vehicles with reliability problems.

      • 0 avatar

        Halting an assembly line to fix an issue is far better than not halting it and having recalls. I don’t see that as a negative.

        JD Powers hasn’t been too kind or too negative. The problems with chrysler are: a) that they’ve got a history that sets up some self-fulfilling prophecy where people are waiting for some dreaded FCA thing to happen, b) they had some expiring lines that have pulled everything down, while at the same time having some bugs in brand new products, c) they have some very high satisfaction ratings with certain products and that got pointed out in the article , but that gets dismissed out of hand by people who are ‘smarter’ than JD Powers because their aunts k car broke down.

  • avatar

    I think Porsche and German brands top the APEAL rankings because their owners (more often) know the product they’re purchasing, and *want* that specific product.

    The normal consumer says “I want X vehicle with X seats for < XX price." The German car enthusiast-consumer says, "I want a 911 GT2 in Canaryeffekt with red calipers and no stereo and Track Pack and spoiler model 323A-T." You see the same with the specific option packages and colors people discuss on BMWs.

    The second kind of consumer is always going to find their specific ride more appealing.

  • avatar

    Mahk is unimpressed.

  • avatar

    They are right about the Pacifica!
    Everyone driving a 2016 or older Town & Country can’t help but gaze in astonishment.
    The wannabe Toyotas and Hondas are left far behind.
    Make Chrysler Great Again!

  • avatar

    When you replace 50% of your lineup (ie 1 vehicle for Chrysler), a big jump in results shouldn’t be too big of a surprise.

  • avatar

    It’s sad how many Americans are lost to the German car industry each year. Man has yet to invent a more effective method for eradicating net worth than owning/operating a German vehicle. For the people who are rich enough to incinerate their money in a bonfire of the vanities, I salute your affluence. For everyone with less than 8-figures of net worth, find a new outlet for your self-loathing.

    If you own a 911, you deserve a special place in the pantheon of motorists because you’ve successfully played German roulette (six shooter with six rounds chambered) and won.

    • 0 avatar

      Comment of the Month!

    • 0 avatar

      Meh, whatever. I’ve owned a couple dozen German cars, most with more miles on them than most people keep their cars, and have had no particular unexpected issues with any of them. My one Porsche was very expensive to deal with, but I knew that going in, it was not a surprise, nor was it in any way unaffordable to me. My current BMW has not had a single thing go wrong with it in about 5 years now. But maybe I am just extremely lucky.

      I have, however, so far avoided owning an Audi… ;-)

      As I like to say, if the difference between a Camry and a 3-deries is meaningless to you, spend your money on something else. Like golf, or a boat, or any one of a million money-sucking pastimes.

  • avatar

    Not surprised, the new Pacific is a class act. Looking at one in the parking lot the other day, in that Chrysler shade of deep red, I was amazed at how upscale it looked. Too bad FCA hasn’t seen fit to give it some brandmates. That feeling is only reinforced by the front clip’s resemblances to the late 200.

    • 0 avatar

      Check out the Pacifica presented on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’ show two weeks ago! Velvet Red (like mine), but the Limited, which we do not require. Our kids have four legs…

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    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.”

  • avatar

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

    "Ask the man who rents one”.

    Powers is crap unless buyers rate discounts are their most important criterion. Objectively, the Altima is bottom drawer.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

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