J.D. Power uses the acronym APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout) to measure vehicle owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement for their cars using 77 different factors. It’s to get an idea of what people like the most and the least about their new cars. Porsche is the only brand that received five “power circles” (think stars) in the catch-all category of “Overall Performance and Design”. You can see the full list here.
Hyundai’s new luxury brand Genesis came in as second place. With only two vehicles in its lineup, Genesis managed to beat established luxury marques like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz which accounted for the rest of the top five.
As usual, the top spots on the list were dominated by luxury brands, but the gap is narrowing between high-end brands and the more mass-market automakers. In the J.D. Power point system, the industry average for mass-market brands improved 10 points over last year while the average for luxury brands went up just one point. The overall industry average saw a nine-point jump which is tied for its biggest gain ever.
The most improved brand on the list was Chrysler with a massive boost of 41 points. That can be credited to the stylish, family-friendly Pacifica minivan which drivers are clearly very happy with. Other big improvements this year came from Nissan, Honda, and Mini which is the highest ranked non-premium brand.
Rounding out the bottom of the list are Mitsubishi in dead last followed by Fiat and Jeep. All three of these brands only scored two power circles in their overall ratings. Mitsubishi and Fiat aren’t big surprises due to their sluggish sales, and sub par overall quality, but Jeep is a bit of a surprise considering how popular it's been sales-wise over the past few years. Dodge also scored below the industry average, so it looks like FCA has some work to do in injecting more excitement into those brands like it did with Chrysler. And that was just with a minivan.