• Jul 16th 2009 at 8:00AM
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Click above for a gallery of the graphics from J.D. Power and Associates

Porsche grabs the top spot for the fifth year in a row in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study. For this year's study, the team at JDPA gathered information from more than 80,900 purchasers and lessees of new 2009 model-year cars and questioned them on more than 90 vehicle attributes. Their studies examined "how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive," based on those evaluations.

While the APEAL nameplate ranking is significant (Porsche, Jaguar, and Cadillac round out the top-three), the segment winners offer more insight into what today's buyers are seeking. This year, it appears to be the newly launched models including the Volkswagen CC, Nissan Maxima, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Flex... each took top honors in their respective category. This year's biggest upset comes in the "Midsize Premium Car" segment as the all-new Hyundai Genesis (sedan) knocks the BMW 5 Series from the podium. Check out the gallery for the graphics, and read the full press release after the break.

[Source: JDPower.com]

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: JULY 16, 2009 - The automotive industry achieves a three-year high in appeal for new and redesigned models, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM released today. Seven of these models have received segment-level awards.

In 2009, the APEAL score for all-new and redesigned models averages 790 on a 1,000-point scale-11 points higher than in 2008 and 15 points higher than the 2009 score for carryover models. In addition, seven all-new and redesigned models rank highest in their respective segments, including the Dodge Challenger, Ford F-150 (in a tie), Ford Flex, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima, Volkswagen CC and Volkswagen Tiguan.

"Most automakers are on track in terms of designing new models that are highly appealing," said David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "The greater challenge for manufacturers lies in creating models that launch with both strong appeal and high quality, which ultimately lead to improved sales through greater customer loyalty and advocacy."

Throughout the years, vehicle models achieving high APEAL scores have been shown to benefit from faster sales, less need for cash incentives and higher profit margins on each vehicle sold.

The average APEAL score for all models in 2009 has improved considerably to 779 from 770 in 2008, driven primarily by increased owner satisfaction with fuel economy. This higher satisfaction comes from three main sources. First, fuel prices have decreased significantly during the past year, which has reduced owner concerns about gas mileage. Second, owners are switching to more fuel-efficient vehicles-in 2009, more than one-half of all vehicles included in the study are powered by four-cylinder engines, compared with just 39 percent in 2008. Third, automakers are designing models to be more fuel efficient than their predecessors.

"Although lower fuel prices and the switch to smaller vehicles have undoubtedly helped, there are also many individual vehicles that have made strong improvements in fuel economy ratings," said Sargent. "For example, the Ford F-150, Cadillac Escalade, Volkswagen Jetta and redesigned Dodge Ram have all made major strides in owner satisfaction with fuel economy through the introduction of more efficient powertrains."

In 2009, domestic brands comprise the four most-improved nameplates. Dodge posts the largest improvement, followed by Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac, respectively. In addition, the three most-improved models are from domestic manufacturers, including the Dodge Ram, Buick Lucerne and Ford F-150.

"Consumers have a great array of appealing vehicles to choose from by both domestic and import brands," said Sargent.

The overall gap in APEAL scores between domestic and import models has narrowed considerably during the past several years and is just five index points in 2009, compared with 15 points in 2008 and 27 points in 2007. Among premium models, import nameplates retain a slight edge, while among non-premium models, domestic brands have a similar edge.

APEAL Model-Level and Nameplate Rankings
Volkswagen captures four segment-level awards-more than any other vehicle nameplate in 2009-for the CC, GTI, Passat and Tiguan. Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan each garner two awards. Ford receives model-level awards for the F-150 (in a tie) and Flex. Honda models receiving awards are the Odyssey (for a fifth consecutive year) and Ridgeline (for a fifth consecutive year). Mercedes-Benz earns awards for the S-Class (for a third consecutive year) and SLK-Class. The S-Class achieves the highest APEAL score of any model in the industry. Nissan receives awards for the Armada and Maxima.

Also receiving awards are the Chevrolet Avalanche (for a second consecutive year), in a tie; Dodge Challenger, Hyundai Genesis, MINI Cooper (for a second consecutive year); Porsche Cayenne (for a second consecutive year); and smart fortwo. The Ford F-150 and Honda Ridgeline are the only two models to rank highest in their respective segments in both the 2009 APEAL Study and 2009 Initial Quality Study (IQS) released in June.

Porsche is the highest-ranking nameplate in APEAL for a fifth consecutive year.

The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than 90 vehicle attributes. The 2009 APEAL Study is based on responses gathered between February and May 2009 from more than 80,900 purchasers and lessees of new 2009 model-year cars and trucks who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership. The APEAL Study complements the recently released J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced by owners during the first 90 days of ownership.

Find more detailed findings on new-vehicle APEAL performance as well as model photos and specs by watching a video, reading an article and reviewing APEAL ratings at JDPower.com.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      how the hell do dodge challenger and execution and layout go hand in hand? were they blindfolded on the inside when they drove?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What about it didn't you like when you drove it?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm unfamiliar with this study. So are they basically just asking people if they like their new cars? I'm not surprised that someone buying a Porsche is happier with their purchase than someone buying a Suzuki, it is a wholly different vehicle. Other than a category breakdown by size, its difficult to paint the entire industry with one brush, as each manufacturer caters to different drivers. I would expect an S-class to drive better than an Altima, but it costs four times as much.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Even Americans don't favor American brands anymore

      Top 10 brands: 6 European, 2 Asian, 2 American

      Top models per segment - Cars: 7 European, 2 Asian, 1 American

      Even Trucks/SUVs - a segment tailored for American tastes - isn't dominated by American branded vehicles: 2 European, 3 Asian, 2 American
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who really cares about JD Power anyway? I've never consulted their rankings when buying a car. For non-reliability things, I can compare cars myself using fact sheets. For reliability, they're not very helpful because they include things like brakedust as issues... For those who don't know how to wash a car, I guess it would be...
        • 6 Years Ago
        JD Power does several studies. Some are initial quality, some are reliability, some are customer satisfaction. You have to use the data intelligently.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It still puzzles me why Chrysler has not followed the Hyundai model; one small, mid size, large mid sized car, mid size sports car, one crossover, one suv and one minizan these should be the only platforms your brand has everything else should be killed off (i.e Viper, Avenger, Aspen, Challenger etc).

      American way of doing things is long gone it is still if they continue to keep doing what they did in 50s i doubt the company will survive past 2015.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's smart doing ranked so high?
      • 6 Years Ago
      C'mon Autoblog, this is entirely too much! Nobody is buying this much reporting bias, which could easily be called false advertising. Here are the facts backing up that comment.

      Read the heading, imagine how all readers would view that, then look at the results! There are 10 ratings categories. Overall, Hyundai is WAY below the industry average, ranking 29th out of 37 manufacturers listed. In fact, based on past results, this relatively horrible rating would be cause for an article in itself. One of their vehicles topped one out of 10 categories! So.... Take it a bit further, subtract that one vehicle from the group and does it mean all the other Hyundai vehicles combined finished in or close to last place? Is that what "Hyundai trumps" truly means?
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Personally, I'd rather have a Genesis than German and British pretentiousness that lacks in both built quality and reliability."

        If someone handed you the keys to a Hyundai, Jaguar, and BMW and said you could only take one for a week of driving, your going to tell me Hyundai? Ya, sure. I don't believe it for a second.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "If someone handed you the keys to a Hyundai, Jaguar, and BMW and said you could only take one for a week of driving, your going to tell me Hyundai? Ya, sure. I don't believe it for a second."

        The study is more than just about given the keys to a car and see which one you would pick for one week of driving. The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than *90* vehicle attributes. I'm sure the BMW gets the fun-to-drive category nod but It's not like the XF and 5-series or perfect cars for everyone (Active Steering, iDrive, quality issues).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Look, Autoblog needs to attract viewers, readers and shocking headlines are the way to do that.

        Mid-size premium segment of the market is hotly contested, and Hyundai triumphing over Jag and BMW is a news item. Even if it's based on traditionally very questionable JD Power's survey. Personally, I'd rather have a Genesis than German and British pretentiousness that lacks in both built quality and reliability.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please, don't say "it is still a hundai..."
      • 6 Years Ago
      The post is a bit misleading, but it's good to see the (relative) underdogs trumping the established players.
      • 6 Years Ago
      LOL at the VW Passat as the best midsize car. I own a 2.0T. Worst car I've ever bought in my life. Go read the countless amount of problems with this car in a google search. Not only that, but VW dealers are exceptionally incompetent and the dealers near me are a bunch of crooks. Had to get a lawyer who deals with lemon law to get them to repair a loose radiator after their patch job on a factory defect. I took it in and they said they fixed it. I took it for an oil change a couple weeks later and they tell me the radiator was leaning against the front of my car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Throughout the years, vehicle models achieving high APEAL scores have been shown to benefit from faster sales, less need for cash incentives and higher profit margins on each vehicle sold."

      So why are the Saturn VUE, VW Routon and Smart for two all on the "highest ranked" lists? I thought all of those cars were selling poorly?...especially the Routon
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sensationalist headlines sell.
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