By on July 22, 2020

Dodge was deemed the mainstream automotive brand with the most appeal in a recent survey conducted by J.D. Power. While that likely means a quadrant of our readers will probably discount it outright, these accolades are always fun to mention so they can be picked apart in the comments. Still, it really shouldn’t be all that bewildering to see Dodge ranking high on the list. The brand’s fleet of V8-equipped products certainly sets it apart from its rivals, even if its lineup isn’t quite so varied as its historic rivals.

The conflict comes when you see what Dodge is surrounded by. J.D Power’s Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) study tabulates owner assessments of vehicles after 90 days of ownership using some pretty broad metrics (available here). The goal here is to uncover which brands offer the best overall experience. Apparently, Dodge owners aren’t quite as happy with their purchase as those who went to a Porsche dealership. Hardly surprising. Yet we were fairly gobsmacked to see the same was true for both Lincoln and Cadillac. 

Premium brands are supposed to offer a superior experience and Ford Motor Company has certainly stepped up its game in that respect.

Cadillac? Meh.

Forgive the editorializing, but it seems that General Motors’ crown jewel suffers from a prolonged identity crisis and has succeeded more in changing its lineup than in successfully evolving it.

Porsche scored the highest of all brands with 881 APEAL points out of a possible 1,000. It was followed by Lincoln (876) and Cadillac (874) before Dodge (872) came in to surprise everyone with some help from truck brand Ram (871).

The next bundle of entries were every remaining luxury brand that isn’t Tesla — which J.D. Power awarded a whopping 896 points but deemed it ineligible for any awards. We suppose its role as an electric brand sort of complicates things. The official reason, according to J.D. Power, is that Tesla didn’t give the outlet permission to survey its customers in the required states.

GMC and Ford were both intermixed with the mid-pack luxury brands with 857 and 853 points, respectively. A solid performance, considering the least APEA-ing luxury brands were Audi and Acura — tied at 845 points. The remaining pedestrian brands were pretty close together; even bottom-ranked nameplates weren’t terribly far from the industry average of 838 points.

While Buick, Subaru, and Volkswagen all averaged below that with 832 points, we’d wager the sample size of  87,282 allowed for a healthy margin of error. The bottom of the list had a few of the usual suspects, notably Mitsubishi (829). Chrysler (828) was also there, along with Toyota (825) and Jeep (822). One of those names is undoubtedly a shock, but the Toyota lineup had very few darlings in it and was frequently dinged for lacking power. It would seem the GRMN Corolla can’t get here fast enough.

However, it should be mentioned that Toyota typically ranks very highly on other J.D. Power surveys. This one just happened to include a lot of questions about how stoked the car makes you when you climb inside — something that isn’t exactly Toyota’s greatest attribute. At least the company seems eager to change that ASAP. Again, it would be more useful to see a points breakdown of every car model. But J.D. Power likes to award exceptional vehicles while generalizing between brands.

[Image: FCA]

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27 Comments on “Dodge Dubbed Most Appealing Mainstream Brand by J.D. Power...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    So the scores ranged from 896/881 to 822, and we’re to draw conclusions from that?

    Sounds more like Olympic gymnastics scoring, in which a 9.8 gets you a gold, but a 9.4 sends you home to be tortured by your country’s dictator.

  • avatar

    How does JD Power define “mainstream automotive brand”?

    A bunch of old platforms stuffed with V8’s and superchargers typically isn’t mainstream. Tesla, Porsche, Cadillac and Lincoln don’t fit my definition either.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Clearly this is bunk. We all know that Hyundai/Kia should be in the top spot. I read it here.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t worry.

      “The parent company receiving the most model-level awards (given to models ranking highest in their respective segment) ****is Hyundai Motor Group (five awards)***”

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly! Tellurado and Palisado should be on the top spot. It just proves that JDPower is a fake news.

  • avatar

    Misleading stat. The Dodge brand has shrunk to the point where it no longer has any mainstream cars, only enthusiast rides. People are always going to be more enthusiastic about a Challenger than a Camry, but that doesn’t make it better.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      Charger is the best selling car in its segment (‘large cars’) by far. BTW, in the stats it competes with likes of Maxima and Avalon, not Camry, which is considered midsize.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. Nobody goes out and buys a Hellcat because they “need” the practicality it offers. So it’s a pretty self selected group of buyers buying exactly what appeals to them.

      Interestingly enough, I personally feel that Dodge is increasingly becoming the only make which does offer anything with enough non-pragmatic appeal, to bother picking over the default Toyota. So, assuming I’m not some weirdo, being self consciously not-Toyota, may not be a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      You guys act like the Charger and Challenger aren’t offered in any trims or powertrains below the SRT model and that the Durango doesn’t even exist. At the end of the day, Subaru sells like 4 different cars with a ton of different trims and ride heights…and one of those is the BRZ. It is a small lineup. Too small taken out of the context of how Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram dealerships operate, but a V6 Charger or Durango is as mainstream as they come.

      • 0 avatar

        At Toyota, there are 20 practical models, and then the 86 (I suppose you could also include the Supra). While at Dodge, there are Hellcats and R/Ts and SRTs and Demons and who knows what worth almost full on dragsters….. and then there’s the V6 Charger and V6 Durango… It really is a different focus and strategy. And one which I suspect is devised to sell more based on “passion”, than the Toyota one.

  • avatar

    This APEAL metric serves two purposes:

    1) Funding for JD Power
    2) A bragging point on PR materials

    And that’s it. The smaller a brand is, mostly, the more enthusiastic and desirable it will be found by its customers. Porsche just *happens* to fit into mainstream. Imagine how high the scores would be for Bentley and Ferrari.

  • avatar

    I can’t recall a time when JDP wasn’t basically a Vegas style neon sign ‘whore’ of the year award.

  • avatar

    How about letting Dodge have a brief minute in the spotlight for having some fabulous V8 powered performance cars that people actually desire at this moment in time, and which we will look back to in the future and kick ourselves for not purchasing when we could have.

    • 0 avatar

      Good comment. As someone who doesn’t currently own any Dodge product, I saw the headline and thought “makes sense”. Power (and torque) sells. Other manufacturers are off listening to their pre-chosen focus groups and advertising marginal superiority in fuel economy at great cost to enjoyment.

  • avatar

    There is a typo in the headline – I think you meant “appalling”.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    This survey doesn’t have my favorite brand at the top. Therefore it is fake.

    -The Best and Brightest

  • avatar

    I think JD Powers will skew any poll to meet a manufacturers requirement, I have never believed anything they publish.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Do people really buy a vehicle based on J.D. Powers?

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