2009 Hyundai Genesis sedan – Click above for high-res gallery

The metric-meisters over at J.D. Power and Associates have announced that they have added yet another automotive study to their arsenal. This time out, JDP has launched its inaugural Vehicle Launch Index, which seeks to measure how new vehicles perform within their first eight months on the market.

J.D. Power says that its VLI integrates such factors as "turn rate, vehicle revenue, dealer gross profit, incentive spend, credit quality and residual value." In addition, the study also makes use of automaker provided figures on model mix, incentive spend, supply levels, as well as utilizing some of the company's other survey results to add vehicle quality and design elements into the results.

So... which model is tops in meeting this balancing act? The 2009 Hyundai Genesis with a score of 689 (out of 1,000 possible points), beating out Ford's F-150 (673) and Volkswagen's Tiguan (663). For reference, the study ranks the industry's average score as 582. At the other end of the spectrum, vehicles like the Toyota Matrix, Dodge Ram, Pontiac Vibe, and Dodge Journey all scored poorly. Check out the full results in the press release after the jump.

Photos copyright ©2009 Michael Harley/ Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: J.D. Power]


J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Hyundai Genesis Ranks Highest in Inaugural Vehicle Launch Index

Getting New Vehicles Right from the Start is Critical, as Automakers Will Pour $50 Billion Into U.S. Launches During the Next Four Years

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2009 Hyundai Genesis ranks highest in launch performance among vehicle models introduced during the first ten months of 2008, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Launch Index (SM) (VLI) released today.

The inaugural Vehicle Launch Index quantifies how well new vehicle models--including new entries to the market and all-new and redesigned models--perform during the first eight months after launch. The VLI examines various factors that are critical to the financial success of a launch, including turn rate, vehicle revenue, dealer gross profit, incentive spend, credit quality and residual value. In addition, VLI includes the key factors of vehicle quality and design, based on the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (SM) (IQS) and Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.(SM)

The Vehicle Launch Index is an independent measure designed to help automakers plan and execute successful vehicle launches in order to maximize revenue and profits, minimize incentive spending and maintain high residual values during a model's lifecycle.

"Launching new vehicles successfully is critical to the financial success of every automaker," said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. "Given lower consumer demand, vehicle proliferation and the financial pressures on the auto industry, every manufacturer must get it 'right' from the start. By carefully analyzing more than 90 vehicle launches that have been executed in the United States, we have determined the key factors for launch success."

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is the leading example of initial launch success and ranks highest among the 27 models examined in the 2009 VLI, with a score of 689 on a 1,000-point scale. Following the Hyundai Genesis in the rankings are the 2009 Ford F-150 (673) and 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan (663).

J.D. Power and Associates forecasts that automakers will conduct 205 new-model launches in the U.S. between 2009 and 2012 and will invest approximately $50 billion in the process. Of the 205 new models, 80 will be new entries to the market, 52 will be all-new models, and 73 will be major redesigns.

"With so much at stake, it is more critical than ever for manufacturers to launch new models that meet their financial targets, as well as product quality and consumer appeal benchmarks," said Dilts. "While some domestic manufacturers are facing tight scrutiny from the federal government and taxpayers, every automaker across the globe is being closely monitored both by governments and shareholders. Strong showings by new models are vital to the economic security of the automakers and will be instrumental in rebuilding Americans' confidence in the auto industry."

The VLI has identified the following key elements that drive the success of newly-launched models:

-- Optimal vehicle price and volume levels are established prior to
-- Manufacturers sustain the proper product mix and incentive support;
-- Automakers and dealers effectively manage inventory levels and turn
-- The model is attractively designed and provides high levels of
consumer appeal in terms of styling, performance, functionality and
ease of operation;

-- The model launches with high initial quality, enhancing the
automaker's image and supporting residual values.

Conversely, the following conditions lead to less-successful model launches:

-- Unrealistic expectations regarding pricing and sales volumes;
-- Poor balance of supply and demand, leading to excessive inventory

-- Inadequate vehicle appeal and poor initial quality leading to low
consumer acceptance and a tarnished brand image.

The 2009 Vehicle Launch Index includes 2008 and 2009 model-year vehicles first sold between January and October 2008. Vehicles must be all-new or major redesigns and must sell at least 5,000 units during the first eight months to be included. The index is based on proprietary information collected through the Power Information Network and J.D. Power and Associates' consumer research.

The Vehicle Launch Index is part of J.D. Power and Associates' 10-module Launch Assurance Program designed to provide automakers with immediate and actionable insights about their vehicle models from initial concept and product development through manufacturing and distribution to the initial ownership experience.

Vehicle Launch Index Ranking

(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
2009 Hyundai Genesis 689
2009 Ford F-150 673
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan 663
2009 Nissan Maxima 636
2009 Subaru Forester 631
2009 Honda Pilot 629
2009 Ford Flex 620
2009 Honda Fit 619
2008 Dodge Challenger 618
2009 Volkswagen Passat CC 601
2009 Nissan Murano 593
2009 Mazda 6 592
Industry Average 582
2009 Lincoln MKS 580
2009 Volkswagen Routan 579
2009 Acura TSX 576
2009 Infiniti FX 575
2008 BMW 1 Series 568
2009 Jaguar XF 567
2009 Chevrolet Traverse 565
2009 Audi A4 563
2008 Pontiac G8 563
2009 Toyota Corolla 561
2009 Acura TL 523
2009 Dodge Journey 513
2009 Pontiac Vibe 504
2009 Dodge Ram Pickup Lt Duty 459
2009 Toyota Matrix 439

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.

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