Dealerships play critical roles in making their products more appealing, especially if they ranked low on J.D. Power’s recently released U.S Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.
“It should have an effect if they explain (a vehicle’s) cool features well, help set them up, answer (technical) questions after delivery,” says David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “They aren’t selling as many vehicles, so this should have freed up time to do this.”
The study analyzes the “emotional attachment and level of excitement” of new-car owners based on 37 different areas and aggregates the responses on a 1,000-point scale. Mass-market brands trailed premium brands by 31 points compared with 21 points in 2021. Overall, mass-market satisfaction decreased four points compared with an eight-point increase in 2021.
The increasing gap between mass-market vehicle performance compared to premium vehicles surprises even Amodeo as he reviews the findings of this 27th annual survey. “The gap widened, which is the opposite of what it has been doing for a long time,” he says.
A score of 888 made Porsche the highest-ranking premium brand, six points higher than it scored in 2021. Dodge won the mass-market crown for a third consecutive year with a score of 882.
“While these brands are very different, both Dodge and Porsche owners identify strongly with their vehicles,” Amodeo says. “That certainly contributes to their stellar APEAL Study results.”
Electrified vehicles scored lower than internal-combustion-engine vehicles, with ICEs scoring 846, plug-in hybrid vehicles at 835 and hybrids tallying 832. Battery-electric vehicles also ranked lower than ICEs at 838.
“The most important factor leading to the industry decline this year is owners’ perception of their vehicle’s fuel economy,” says Amodeo. "The study was fielded as fuel prices were experiencing a meteoric rise, and that pinch at the pump is conveyed in lower vehicle satisfaction. Battery-electric vehicles have not been negatively affected by the increase in fuel costs but do have issues related to battery range and charging time.”
The study also found:
- Genesis (886) ranked second and Cadillac (885) third among premium brands, just behind Porsche’s 888.
- Another Stellantis brand, Ram (863) ranked second behind Dodge’s 882 among mass-market brands, followed by GMC (856).
- Jeep was the biggest gainer in the mass-market rankings, placing seven positions higher than in 2021. Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Infiniti gained the most among the premium brands, up three places year over year. Infiniti was the biggest gainer, improving 24 points from a year ago.
- Tesla was included in the industry calculation for the first time, posting a score of 887. However, because the BEV manufacturer does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in some states, Tesla models remain ineligible for awards.
- Battery-electric vehicles (excluding Tesla) underperform gasoline vehicles with a score of 838. Teslas are summarized separately from the BEV composite score because the brand's dominance in the premium BEV category would skew the results of all other BEVs. With seven models ranking highest in their segments, Hyundai garnered the top J.D. Power Model-Level APEAL Award, followed by BMW, Nissan and Stellantis with three awards each.