Who said America's love affair with the car is over?
A new report by J.D. Power & Associates confirms what everyone in the U.S. auto industry already understands these days: American consumers like sheetmetal that is new, different and exciting.
For the second consecutive year in Power’s annual APEAL study (an acronym for Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout), recently launched all-new and redesigned models are substantially more appealing than their carryover counterparts.
The new snapshot also includes especially good news for the BMW, Chrysler and Hyundai brands.
General Motors and Ford, for instance, have seen huge popularity in the last few years mainly for launch models that started out with the cleanest sheets of paper, such as the Ford Fiesta, the Chevrolet Cruze, the Chevy Camaro and the Buick Regal.
“The auto industry has taken a battering during the last few years,” said David Sargent, Power’s vice president of global vehicle research. “However, it is clear that throughout this period, automakers have never lost sight of the fact that survival – and ultimately success – only comes from winning over customers in the showroom.”
BMW and Dodge each captured a handful of category awards in Power’s report; BMW for the X3, Z4 Roadster and 5 Series, and Dodge for the Challenger, Charger and Durango. These awards especially testify to the importance of styling and emotion in vehicle preferences, because each of those vehicles decidedly falls short when it comes to nearly every American’s uppermost purchase criterion these days: fuel economy.
Porsche remained the highest-ranking individual make in APEAL for the seventh consecutive year. And Hyundai improved more from 2010 than any other brand.
The second half will bring a raft of launches of new and significantly overhauled vehicles to the industry. With the economy lagging again, they might be the thing still bringing Americans to dealer showrooms.
Here's the highest-ranking APEAL winners (click here for the top three in each category), starting with the lightest ranked sub-compact brand:
Sub-Compact Car: 2011 Ford Fiesta
Compact Car: 2011 Chevrolet Volt
Compact Sporty Car: 2011 Volkswagen GTI
Compact Premium Sporty Car: 2011 BMW Z4 Roadster
Entryl Premium Car: 2011 Lexus IS
Midsize Sporty: 2011 Dodge Challenger
Midsize Premium Car: 2011 BMW 5 Series
Large Premium Car: 2011 Hyundai Equus
Midsize Car: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi
Large Car: 2011 Dodge Charger
Compact Crossover/SUV: 2011 MINI Countryman
Compact Multi Purpose Vehicle: 2011 Scion xB
Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: 2011 BMW X3
Midsize Crossover/SUV: 2011 Dodge Durango
Large Crossover/SUV: 2011 Nissan Armada
Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV: 2011 Porsche Cayenne
Large Premium Crossover/SUV: 2011 Land Rover Range Rover
Large Pickup: 2011 Ford F-150
Midsize Pickup: 2011 Honda Ridgeline
Minivan: 2011 Honda Odyssey