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2013 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study Results

2013 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study Results

By Jeff Youngs,
Satisfaction with their new vehicles' appeal among owners in Japan increases in 2013, according to the just-published J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM

The study, now in its third year, measures what gratifies owners with their vehicle's performance and design during the first two to nine months of ownership. The study arrives at an overall APEAL score based on owner evaluations of 95 vehicle attributes, grouped into 10 categories: exterior; interior; storage and space; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); dynamics (driving performance); engine/transmission; visibility and driving safety; and fuel economy. Overall APEAL scores, which indicate the product appeal of vehicles, are based on a 1,000-point scale.

The overall industry APEAL index score is 697 in 2013, 6 points higher than in 2012. In comparison, the overall industry APEAL score in the 2013 U.S. APEAL Study is 795--nearly 100 points higher than in Japan--which suggests that automakers are doing a better job of satisfying customers in the United States when it comes to vehicle performance and design.

Satisfaction with the exterior of the vehicle in the 2013 Japan APEAL Study, which accounts for 25% of the vehicle's overall appeal score, is nearly steady, at an average of 721, compared with 718 in 2012. The largest improvement in 2013 is in the engine/transmission category, which increases by 12 points year over year. Satisfaction with fuel economy and seats both improve by 7 points in 2013.

"There is a strong correlation between APEAL scores and brand repurchase and recommendation intention of vehicle owners," said Atsushi Kawahashi, director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. "Increasing customer loyalty is important from the perspective of maintaining business growth. For such a high-impact category as exterior, it becomes increasingly important for automakers to consider the perspective of customers at the product planning and design stages."

Brand Rankings
Lexus is the highest-ranked nameplate among Japan's vehicle-owning community for a second consecutive year, with an overall APEAL score of 831. Mercedes-Benz (787) ranks second and Audi (775) ranks third. The Volkswagen Polo ranks highest in the compact segment for a second consecutive year. The three highest-ranking models by segment are:

  • Mini-car: Honda N-ONE ranks highest, followed by the Daihatsu Mira Cocoa and Honda N BOX.
  • Compact: Volkswagen Polo ranks highest, followed by Toyota Spade, Nissan Juke, and Suzuki Swift and Toyota AQUA in a tie for fourth.
  • Midsize segment: Subaru Forester ranks highest, followed by Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Golf/Golf Cabriolet/Golf Variant in a tie.
  • Minivan segment: Toyota Alphard ranks highest, followed by Toyota Vellfire and Toyota Estima.

Consumer Tips
J.D. Power offers the following tips to consumers when purchasing a new vehicle:
  • Understand that gas mileage can vary dramatically based on factors such as the age and overall condition of your vehicle, inflation and condition of tires, driving style, weather, and road conditions.
  • Most experts agree that it's more economical and more satisfactory overall, in the long run, to buy a "stripped" version of the best make and model you can afford, rather than an option-heavy version of a lesser-quality vehicle.
  • Study the various design options available from different automakers. Particularly with regard to the exterior--which many new car owners consider a crucial factor in the purchase decision--an understanding of the maker's design decisions will help you to make a choice you'll be happy with.

About the Study
The 2013 Japan APEAL Study is based on responses from 11,210 purchasers of new vehicles in the first two to nine months of ownership, and includes 16 automotive brands and 108 models. The study was fielded in May 2013.

Additional Research:

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