Porsche Tops, Detroit Improves in 2009 J.D. Power APEAL Study

Joshua Duval
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J.D. Power released results for its annual Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study yesterday, revealing Porsche to be the highest-ranked nameplate for the fifth consecutive year and indicating that the Detroit Three are making gains in customer satisfaction.

J.D. Power's study "examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of more than 90 vehicles attributes." The 2009 study is based on the responses of 80,900 purchasers and lessees of new 2009 model year vehicles between February and May.

The APEAL study ranks nameplates as well as individual models. Porsche again ranks as the highest in J.D. Power's study with a score of 869 out of 1000 (15 points higher than last year), followed by Jaguar (retaining its second-place position from last year but losing 15 points), Cadillac (rising from sixth last year and increasing its score by 25 points), Audi (up from eighth last year), and BMW (falling two spots but gaining 3 points). Audi and Cadillac nudged Mercedes-Benz and Lexus out of the top five; last year they held the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

Volkswagen won the most segment-level awards, with the CC, GTI, Passat, and Tiguan all tops in their categories. Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan each took home two awards. New and redesigned cars also dominated the list, with vehicles like the Dodge Challenger, Ford F-150 and Flex, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima, CC, and Tiguan all winning segment awards.

One of the most promising trends in the study shows that Detroit's three automakers are quickly improving their desirability. Buick, Cadillac, Dodge, and Pontiac were the four most-improved brands over last year, with Dodge rising an astounding 37 points to lodge itself five points ahead of the industry's average score of 779. Ford also jumped above the industry average in the 2009 study with a score of 785, 17 points higher than in 2008's study.

The study also clearly indicates that "initial quality" does not necessarily equate to fondness for one's vehicle. Several makes that rank highly in J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study (which measures new-vehicle quality after 90 days of ownership)-- such as Hyundai, which ranked third in this years IQS study, fourth-ranked Honda, and seventh-ranked Toyota -- fail to even beat the industry average in the APEAL study. Additionally, makes like Jaguar, Land Rover, and Lincoln, all of which ranked poorly in the IQS study, are in the top ten in the APEAL results.

Head on over the J.D. Power's website to read a press release, see individual segment awards, or analyze ratings.

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