TOKYO: 21 Sept. 2017 — As new vehicles are equipped with more features that support safe driving, new-vehicle appeal improves, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study,SM released today.
The study, now in its seventh year, examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive. Owners evaluate their vehicles across 77 attributes, grouped into 10 categories of vehicle performance: exterior; interior; storage and space; audio/ communication/ entertainment/ navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); driving dynamics (driving performance); engine/ transmission; visibility and safety; and fuel economy. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
Overall, the APEAL score increases by 9 points in 2016 to 637 in 2017. Among all categories, the largest improvement is in ACEN (608) and driving dynamics (646), each increasing by 12 points, followed by HVAC (619) and visibility and safety (643), each increasing by 11 points. Fuel economy shows an improvement of 1 point in 2017 despite a significant decrease in 2016 from 2015.
The study finds that the average number of safety features or advanced technologies installed per vehicle increases to 2.4 items in 2017 from 1.9 items in 2016 (+26% uplift). The study also finds that overall APEAL scores increase in proportion to the number of additional safety features and advanced technologies installed in new vehicles. In fact, the overall APEAL score averages 606 points for new vehicles without such installations, but 664 points for new vehicles with four and 765 points for new vehicles with eight.
“The safety features and advanced technology appeal, which can be seen mainly in the large and midsize segments, are penetrating into the minivan and compact segments,” said Atsushi Kawahashi, Senior Director of the Automotive Division at J.D. Power, Tokyo. “It is expected that the safety features and advanced technologies will also penetrate into the mini-car segment in the near future. If this occurs, it is likely that the installation of these safety features and advanced technologies may not directly contribute to the differentiation of vehicles.”
Key Findings by Segment
- Mini-car segment: The overall APEAL score increases by 11 points from 2016 to 602 in 2017. Satisfaction improves across all categories, with large increases of 10 points or more in seven categories. The largest increase, 14 points, is in both interior and driving dynamics, followed by an increase of 13 points in both storage and space and ACEN. This segment is the only segment to exhibit a year-over-year increase in scores for fuel economy, up 9 points from 2016.
- Compact segment: The overall APEAL score increases by 5 points from 2016 to 624 in 2017. Satisfaction improves in all categories except fuel economy (down 9 points), with increases of 10 points or more in four categories. The largest increase, 13 points, is in storage and space.
- Midsize segment: The overall APEAL score increases by 6 points from 2016 to 674 in 2017. Satisfaction improves by 10 points or more in five categories, with the largest increase in HVAC, 11 points.
- Large segment: The overall APEAL score decreases by 3 points from 2016 to 713 in 2017. Satisfaction significantly decreases by 18 points in fuel economy. Satisfaction also decreases in engine/ transmission by 4 points, while improving by 3 points in visibility and safety.
- Minivan segment: The overall APEAL score increases by 12 points from 2016 to 645 in 2017. Satisfaction improves in all categories except fuel economy (down 3 points), with increases of 10 points or more in eight categories. The largest increase, 17 points, is in HVAC, followed by an increase of 15 points in both ACEN and driving dynamics and 14 points in both seats and visibility and safety.
Highest Ranked Brands and Models
Lexus ranks highest among brands, with an overall APEAL score of 747. Lexus is followed by Mercedes-Benz (720), Audi (714) and BMW and Volvo in a tie (705).
Daihatsu WAKE ranks highest in the mini-car segment, followed by Suzuki Wagon R in second and Daihatsu Move Canbus in third.
Mazda Demio ranks highest in the compact segment, followed by Toyota AQUA in second and Nissan Note in third.
Mazda CX-5 ranks highest in the midsize segment, followed by MINI in second and Subaru Impreza in third.
Toyota Alphard ranks highest in the minivan segment, followed by Toyota Vellfire in second and Honda Odyssey in third.
The 2017 Japan APEAL Study is based on responses from 22,924 purchasers of new vehicles in the first two to nine months of ownership. The study includes 16 automotive brands and 108 models and ranks models with a sample size of 100 or more usable returns. The study was fielded from May through June 2017.
About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region
J.D. Power has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. J.D. Power is a portfolio company of XIO Group, a global alternative investments and private equity firm headquartered in London, and is led by its four founders: Athene Li, Joseph Pacini, Murphy Qiao and Carsten Geyer. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the internet at japan.jdpower.com.
About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules www.jdpower.com/about-us/press-release-info
 The safety features and advanced technologies include blind spot monitoring/ warning system; built-in night vision camera; collision avoidance/ alert system; head-up display; lane departure warning system; park assist/ backup warning (audible/ visual sensors, camera, etc.); self-parking system; and tire pressure monitor system.
 Official rankings are published only for segments with at least three models with sufficient sample that comprise 67% of market sales within an award segment. Therefore, no official rankings are published for the large segment.