For the second year in a row, Stellantis’ Dodge brand secured the top spot in a J.D. Power study that ranks the emotional appeal of new vehicles.
Dodge ranked highest among mass-market brands in 2021, according to J.D. Power’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The study asks owners to consider 37 new-vehicle attributes, such as comfort level in the driver’s seat or excitement felt when hitting the accelerator.
Owners’ responses are aggregated to compute an overall APEAL index and scores are measured on a 1,000-point scale, J.D. Power said.
Dodge received a score of 882, well above the average of 845 for mass-market brands.
“Dodge not only leads mass-market brands in APEAL this year, but also was a close second to sibling brand Ram in IQS earlier this year,” J.D. Power said in a statement.
Nissan ranked third among mass-market brands with 866 points. GMC and Ford rounded out the top five mass-market rankings with 861 and 858 points, respectively.
Toyota saw the largest gain in its mass-market rankings, moving up five places year over year.
Buick, Mitsubishi and Chrysler ranked on the low end of the scale. Buick scored 829 points and Mitsubishi scored 827. Chrysler finished last with a score of 826.
Among premium brands, Porsche nabbed the top spot for the third consecutive year. The luxury brand scored 882 points. It was followed by Genesis, Land Rover, Lincoln and BMW. Genesis saw the largest gain in the premium segment — the brand moved up four places from last year.
The average APEAL score for premium brands was 864 points, which outscored the mass-market average. However, the 19-point gap between mass-market and premium-brand average scores is down from a 23-point gap in 2020.
“One of the biggest factors driving the industry’s improvement this year is the introduction of several highly appealing new models,” David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “The APEAL study measures owners’ emotional attachment to their new vehicle, and the product launches that took place this model year have done a really good job. Some are all-new and some are redesigns, but the new launches demonstrate that automakers are getting even better at hitting buyers’ emotional triggers.”
Tesla racked up 893 index points, the highest score in the study. However, the electric vehicle maker was not officially ranked because it doesn’t give J.D. Power permission to survey owners in 15 states where it is required. J.D. Power said that Tesla’s score of 893 is based on results in the 35 remaining states.
Automotive parent companies received awards from J.D. Power for models that ranked highest in their respective segment. General Motors secured five awards (Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Sierra HD). BMW AG took four awards (BMW 4 Series, X4, X6 and X7.
Hyundai Motor Group and Nissan Motor Co. took three awards apiece, while Ford Motor Co. won two awards.
The 2021 U.S. APEAL study is based on responses from 110,827 owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. J.D. Power said the study was conducted from February through July.