J.D. Power Looks at What’s Appealing
J.D. Power has announced the winners of its 2019 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which is predicated on “owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle across 77 attributes, ranging from the power they feel when they step on the gas to the sense of comport and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat.”
If the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study is essentially about how well everything is screwed together, the APEAL study is about surprise and delight.
Given those metrics, that Porsche is the #1 brand, rated at 891 points out of a possible 1,000, isn’t surprising.
Genesis G70 (Image: Genesis)
What is notable in that brand ranking is that BMW and Genesis are tied for second (868 points). It is interesting that the venerable “Ultimate Driving Machine” is matched by what is arguably a newcomer to the luxury space. Clearly there is a huge focus on being competitive in all aspects of execution at Genesis. (It is also worthwhile pointing out that the Genesis G70 was awarded the 2019 North American International Car of the Year (NACTOY) Award.)
Ram 1500 interior. (Image: FCA)
J.D. Power segments the brands on whether they are luxury or mass market, and while the three previously mentioned companies, obviously, fit into the luxury category, the brand that scored the highest in the mass market was Ram (851). While I don’t have data to confirm this, I would suggest that a high level of Ram appeal is found in the interior of the Ram 1500, which is easily the best in market. (And not to get too carried away with this, it is worth noting that the Ram 1500 received the 2019 NACTOY nod for trucks.)
The interior designers at FCA have been doing a remarkable job of late, so it isn’t entirely surprising that right after Ram there’s Dodge on the list, with 848 points. . .which puts Dodge in a dead heat with Lexus.
At the model level, which the study also goes into, Ford topped all other brands with five wins, for the Expedition, F-150, Ranger, Super Duty, and Lincoln Navigator. One thing to think about in the context of those vehicles is Ford’s stated commitment to trucks, which those five vehicles certainly underscore.
One interesting finding is that on average, the gap between the average ratings for luxury vehicles and mass market vehicles, 853 and 818, or a delta of just 35 points is the narrowest in the company’s history.
This is interesting because as the mass market brands being to offer more of the things that delight customers, it is going to become all the more difficult for luxury marques to be able to sufficiently differentiate their products from the really, really good mass market ones. Overall, there were 32 brands in the study, 22 of which improved their rankings from last year. So there is a whole lot of attention to improvement going on across the industry.
(Fine print: The study, in its 24th year, has responses from approximately 68,000 buyers or lessees of 2019 model year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. The responses were collected between February and May 2019.)
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