2007 APEAL Study Results

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2006
Emotion is a key driver of vehicle purchases. Americans have long had a love affair with the automobile, and today it is frequently said that you are what you drive. Indeed, the vehicles we choose to park in our driveways say something about us, collectively and individually. We strive to own vehicles of which our neighbors will approve, but more importantly we strive to own vehicles that appeal to us on a visceral level. We want our cars and trucks to look good inside and out, we want them to perform capably, and we want them to work intuitively, day in and day out.

Each year, the J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL)SM surveys consumers who have purchased new model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. The 2007 APEAL study identifies the features that people find most appealing about their new vehicles, measuring satisfaction with 100 vehicle attributes in categories such as ride and handling, engine and transmission, and comfort and convenience. Awards are given to the top-ranked models in 19 vehicle segments.

This year's APEAL study results are based upon approximately 92,000 responses from verified purchasers and lessees of new 2007 model year cars and trucks. The study was conducted between November of 2006 and January of 2007, excluding late-release models such as the redesigned Mini Cooper and Toyota Tundra.

Key findings of the 2007 APEAL study include

  • New and redesigned models satisfy consumers more when it comes to performance and design. Just over half of the APEAL study segment awardees are new or redesigned for 2007.

  • Consumers say that German-branded vehicles are the most satisfying when it comes to performance and design. Porsche narrowly eclipsed BMW in the overall brand rankings, and Mercedes-Benz saw a 12-point gain over 2006 to rank No. 3.

  • Saturn, which is enjoying a rejuvenation of its product lineup, saw the biggest jump in brand rankings of any non-premium manufacturer in 2007. It followed only Jaguar in this respect, which rose to a No. 4 overall ranking behind Mercedes-Benz on the strength of its new XK coupe and convertible.

  • Honda received four awards in the 2007 APEAL study, the most of any manufacturer. BMW and Mercedes-Benz each received three awards, while Volkswagen, Ford and Nissan each received two awards.

  • Premium brands typically score higher than non-premium brands in the APEAL study. The only domestic brands to rank above industry average were Cadillac, Lincoln, and Hummer.
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