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Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock.

Survey Gauges How Much Owners Love Their Vehicles

Porsche ranks highest overall; Dodge tops for mass-market brands in J.D. Power’s automotive user-experience survey.

Dodge and Porsche are the big winners this year in J.D. Power’s annual survey of how much people love their newly purchased vehicles. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Dodge brand took top honors among mass-market automakers. Dodge also ranked No.1 in this year’s J.D. Power survey on initial-quality owner satisfaction. Only Hyundai had achieved that one-two feat until now.

FCA has largely trimmed the Dodge lineup to performance-oriented cars such as the Challenger and Charger.

People who buy Dodges, namesakes of early 20th century bar-brawling Detroit brothers, John and Horace, who also in tandem were automotive engineering geniuses, seem enamored by their purchases, Dave Sargent, J.D. Power’s vice president-automotive quality, says at a media briefing on this year’s APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) Study. 

Its user-experience survey metrics seek to gauge “the difference between someone liking their vehicle and someone loving it,” he says.   

Dodge ranks highest in the mass-market segment with a score of 872. Ram (871) ranks a close second, followed by GMC (857), Ford (853) and Mini (846).

Porsche (881) ranks highest in the luxury segment. Lincoln (876) ranks second, followed by Cadillac (874), BMW (869) and Land Rover (866).

Mazda climbs the most in the mass-market rankings, moving up nine spots since 2019. Cadillac climbs six places in the premium rankings, the most in that segment.

(See two ranking charts of all brands below.)

Vehicle-owner expectations have changed over the years. At one time, consumers  were happy if their vehicles were reliable enough not to conk out in the middle of an intersection. 

“People are looking for more than (reliability) today,” Sargent says, noting recent auto-industry quality strides. “There is the user experience, the feeling of quality, the trust that the vehicle will do what it is supposed to do every single time. People also are looking for surprise factors.”

Other key findings of the 2020 study:

  • Eight models receiving APEAL segment awards also received awards in J.D. Power’s 2020 Initial Quality Study: Audi A3, BMW X6, Cadillac CT6, Genesis G70, Hyundai Veloster, Jaguar E-Pace, Nissan Armada and Nissan Maxima.
  • The gap between luxury and mass-market brands is narrower than ever at 23 points. That’s largely because some premium brands have moved downmarket with entry-level models, while mainstream brands have added more features in their vehicles.
  • Scoring 896, Tesla is included in the survey for the first time. But the electric-vehicle maker is not officially ranked because, unlike other manufacturers, it “doesn’t grant us permission to survey its owners in 15 states where (permission) is required,” says Doug Betts, J.D. Power’s president-automotive division. “However, we were able to collect a large enough sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states and, from that base, we calculated Tesla’s score.”J.D. Power apeal mass market.pngJ.D. Power Apeal.png
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