Which new vehicle had the most successful launch in 2009? According to global marketing services company J.D. Power and Associates, it's the 2009 Hyundai Genesis.
J.D. Power has taken on the task of ranking how successful vehicle launches are because of the vast sums of money automakers spend on introducing new vehicles. With auto sales far diminished from recent years, every dollar spent by an automaker must be spent wisely. The company projects that automakers will introduce 205 new models in the U.S. in the next four years, spending about $50 billion to do so.
"Launches represent a four- to five-year investment of huge sums of money," J.D. Power's senior vice president, Gary Dilts, told Automotive News.
J.D. Power's Vehicle Launch Index (VLI) uses several elements to determine what a "successful" launch is, including the automaker's ability to set the optimal vehicle price and volume level prior to launch, the model's initial quality, and dealers' ability to manage inventory levels.
The 2009 Hyundai Genesis ranked the highest of 27 models tested with a score of 689 on a 1000-point scale. The 2009 Ford F-150 came in second with 673 points and the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan was third with 663 points. Only 2008 and 2009 model-year vehicles that were all-new or had major redesigns were considered for ranking.
Surprisingly, Toyota's recent launches, the 2009 Toyota Corolla and 2009 Toyota Matrix, ranked last and sixth-to-last in the VLI index ratings. The 2009 Dodge Ram pickup and the 2009 Pontiac Vibe were also near the bottom of the list.
Head on over to J.D. Power's website for a press release and full list of vehicle rankings.