Is your car on the list?
Earlier this year, JD Power released its yearly rankings for best initial quality. In 2019, Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai scored a 1-2-3 finish for the second year in a row while Lexus remained the top brand in the dependability study. JD Power has now released its 2019 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout Study, which is also known as the APPEAL Study. Unlike the firm's other studies, which seek to rank brands based on reliability and dependability, the APPEAL Study ranks each brand (and individual models) on a 1,000 point scale to measure owner attachment and excitement.
The study measures ten categories for each vehicle including infotainment and safety equipment. Genesis topped the list in 2018 (beating out Porsche) but there is a new winner for 2019. After missing out on its 13th consecutive year as JD Power's most appealing brand, Porsche once again tops the list in 2019.
Porsche is followed by a tie between BMW and Genesis, which are in turn followed by Audi, Volvo, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and then Ram, which is ranked as the highest-ranked mainstream brand. The list may be topped mostly by luxury brands but the average score of 853 for luxury marques compared to 818 for mainstream was the smallest gap in the survey's history. This means mainstream brands are starting to become good enough to make buyers question purchasing a luxury vehicle.
In fact, vehicles across the board improved in all measurement categories with infotainment leading as the most improved category. "Every automaker is producing vehicles that consumers like, but some of them are doing it at a higher level than others," said Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at JD Power. "Satisfaction with new technology is improving, but infotainment remains an area where automakers can get better. Owners have higher satisfaction if their vehicle is equipped with safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, collision avoidance, and lane departure warning. This should serve as a positive sign for manufacturers, as these features are some of the early building blocks for fully automated vehicles."
Sedans showed an overall slowdown in improvements for 2019 while SUVs improved by seven points overall. "Fuel economy will always be an important consideration for shoppers, but they are increasingly wowed by the capability of modern SUVs," Sargent explained. The Audi A7 was the highest-ranked vehicle overall in the segment and some of the category winners include the Toyota Yaris, BMW 2 Series, Kia Forte, Mini Cooper, Mercedes C-Class, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Dodge Challenger, and Nissan Maxima.
On the SUV and truck side, Ford dominated the study with five segment winners. The winners include the Mini Countryman, GMC Terrain, BMW X4, Chevy Blazer, Porsche Cayenne, Ford Ranger, Honda Odyssey, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, Ford F-150, and Ford Super Duty.