||Porsche Nabs 9th Straight Title in J.D. Power New-Model Satisfaction Study
Luxury brands and nameplates, led by Porsche and the redesigned Land Rover Range Rover SUV, are the most satisfying 2013 vehicles rated by owners, according to annual study by J.D. Power and Associates.
Volkswagen Group led all automakers with five nameplates ranked best in their segments for performance, content, design, layout, fuel economy and other attributes: the Audi Allroad, Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen GTI and Volkswagen Passat.
Porsche, which was acquired fully by VW Group last year, is the highest-ranked brand for the ninth straight year in the study. It is followed by Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz (tied), Cadillac, Jaguar, Lincoln and Infiniti.
At the bottom of the survey were Smart, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jeep and Toyota.
J.D. Power's U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study was overhauled for 2013 to better measure the appeal of new cars and light trucks, and better track satisfaction with the latest technology and features, Power said.
Consumers evaluated new vehicles in 10 key areas across 77 attributes after 90 days of ownership, and Power assigned scores based on a 1,000-point scale.
The Range Rover, which was redesigned for 2013, ranked first among all nameplates with a score of 898, marking the first time a large luxury car has not topped the survey, Power said. The lowest-ranked vehicle, with a score of 714, was not identified.
The industry average improved to 795 points this year from 788 in 2012, J.D. Power said.
Audi, Land Rover, Ram, Buick and Honda rose two slots in the rankings, while Lexus, Cadillac, Lincoln and Nissan climbed one position.
Chrysler fell the most slots -- eight -- in the survey, followed by Toyota, Ford, Jaguar, Mini, Dodge, Acura, GMC and Mazda.
Among brands, Chevrolet topped the rankings with three segment winners: the Avalanche pickup, Sonic subcompact and Volt plug-in hybrid.
Power says the attributes that generated the most satisfaction in this year's survey were exterior styling, interior styling, driving dynamics, engine and transmission performance, and seat comfort.
Dave Sargent, head of the automotive practice at J.D. Power, said top brands and nameplates continue to refine, refresh -- even add new body styles -- throughout product life cycles.
"To be on top today, a car has to be exceptional," he said. "Things are moving so fast that OK does not cut it anymore."
The top gripes, in order, were fuel economy, infotainment and communications, heating and cooling systems, storage and space, and visibility and safety.
"Consumers are always disappointed with fuel economy and more so today because they are paying more for gasoline and not getting what they expected in terms of efficiency," Sargent said. "It's a double whammy for some automakers."
Sargent said consumers also remain largely frustrated with voice recognition technology and the inability to use certain functions while a vehicle is moving.
Brands and nameplates that ranked at the bottom tend to feature older technology and user interfaces, Power said.
Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. received two model awards each: Ford's F-250/F-350 Super Duty and Mustang, and Nissan's Armada and Murano.
The BMW 5 series, Buick Encore, Dodge Charger, Fiat 500, Honda Odyssey, Kia Soul, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LS, Lincoln MKZ, Mazda CX-5 and Mercedes-Benz SL class also were segment winners.
Among automakers, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW Group, Daimler AG and VW Group topped the rankings, Power said.
Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president for global quality and customer experience at General Motors, said exterior styling and infotainment helped the automaker in the 2013 study.
"This is confirmation from customers that we are on the right track," Boler-Davis said.
Among the areas GM needs to improve is storage and space, she added.
Top nonpremium brand
Ram, the highest-ranked nonpremium brand, scored well among owners for exterior styling and performance.
Sargent some brands and nameplates continue to be hurt by cost cutting prompted by the industry's sales downturn.
Power said the latest study underscores that satisfied owners and appealing vehicles can drive profitability and loyalty for some brands and automakers.
Owners of vehicles with scores of 100 or more points higher than the segment average typically spend at least $1,800 more on their new vehicles than owners of vehicles with scores of 100 or more points lower than the segment average, Power said.
Nearly two-thirds -- 64 percent -- of owners whose vehicles scored at least 100 points higher than the segment average repurchase the same brand the next time they shop for a new vehicle, compared with just 55 percent of those whose vehicles scored at least 100 points lower than the segment average, Power said.
The 2013 study is based on responses from more than 83,000 consumers who bought or leased 2013 vehicles.
(Source: Automotive News, 07/24/13)
For more information on the APEAL study, please visit the website for J.D. Power and Associates.
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