Among the many automotive studies conducted by J.D. Power is the annual Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout index. That's a mouthful to say, but it's no coincidence that the acronym spells out APEAL. The survey reaches out to new car buyers after 90 days of ownership to find which cars are most appealing to their respective owners. In short, it determines which cars and brands new car buyers love the most. In the short term, anyway.
For 2021, that honor is equally shared between Porsche and Dodge. On a 1,000-point scale, each automaker scored 882 but it's not quite as simple as that. J.D. Power ranks premium and mass-market brands separately, and for good reason. It's much easier for buyers to form a strong emotional bond with their niche supercar as opposed to someone who just bought a sedan not unlike those at the airport rental lot. As such, it's pretty darned impressive that Dodge stands door-to-door with Porsche. Perhaps Hellcating all the things really does make a difference.
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Actually, J.D. Power alludes to such things in its APEAL press release. With the recent influx of passion-driven models from a variety of automakers, J.D. Power says overall appeal for new vehicles has never been higher. That can be seen in the overall APEAL stats, with cumulative mass-market brands trailing premium brands by an average of only 19 points – three less than last year.
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Other notable winners for the 2021 APEAL awards include Genesis and Land Rover taking second and third spot in the premium segment, just a few points behind Porsche. Similarly, Ram is just a single point behind Dodge in the mass market group, with Nissan coming third at 866. General Motors took top honors as the automaker with the most individual model awards at five. Curiously, the highest-ranked model overall was not something from Dodge or Porsche, but rather, the Nissan Maxima. In a world filled to the brim with trucks and SUVs, it seems there's still lots of love for sporty front-wheel-drive sedans.
"One of the biggest factors driving the industry's improvement this year is the introduction of several highly appealing new models," said David Amodeo, J.D. Power global automotive director. "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."