Porsche, Dodge, General Motors Tops in 'Emotional Experience'

If it seems like J.D. Power just released another study, that's because it just did.  

Today’s 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study is the research company’s second in just over two weeks.  The company released its highly watched 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study on Aug. 31.

IQS is the one that automakers are most likely to reference in its marketing, often at the end of a spot. Last year Dodge created an entire ad using its first-place finish in both studies as a jumping off point. 

The APEAL study speaks more to marketing, branding and customer loyalty. Like IQS, the APEAL study is based on responses gathered from owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. 



This year, Porsche is the highest-ranking premium brand, Dodge tops the mass-market brands and General Motors garnered the most segment-level awards

Toyota is the biggest gainer in the mass-market rankings, placing five rank positions higher than in 2020. Genesis gains the most in the premium brand rankings, up four places year over year. Nissan is the biggest gainer in terms of index points, improving 22 from a year ago.

Dodge ranks highest among mass-market brands and ties Porsche overall with a score of 882. Ram (881) ranks second and Nissan (866) ranks third among mass market brands.

The Nissan Maxima receives a model-level award for a fourth consecutive year. The BMW X4 and Chevrolet Blazer receive model-level awards for a third consecutive year. The BMW X6, GMC Sierra HD, Honda Ridgeline, Kia Telluride, Nissan Sentra, Nissan Versa and Ram 1500 each receive model-level awards for a second consecutive year.

The study measures owners’ emotional experiences and level of excitement for their new vehicle across a wide range of attributes, ranging from the power they feel when they step on the accelerator to the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat. These attributes are combined into an overall APEAL index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.

On the strength of some very successful new-vehicle launches for 2021, the auto industry continues its trend of producing ever-more appealing vehicles, according to the company. 

The BMW 4 Series, Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Bronco Sport, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Genesis G80, Kia K5 and Toyota Sienna are all-new or completely redesigned models that achieved segment-topping performances in appeal to owners. These models and others have helped boost the industry's overall vehicle emotional appeal, says David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power.

“The product launches that took place this model year have done a really good job” and "demonstrate that automakers are getting even better at hitting buyers' emotional triggers," Amodeo says in a release.

The gap between which features are offered on non-luxury models is getting closer to those offered on luxury vehicles, says  Michele Krebs, executive analyst, Cox Automotive, who calls it “the democratization of technology and amenities.”

Krebs’ company puts together the Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch, which combines shopping consideration and consumer perception.

“It consistently shows that successful brands and models strike the right balance of practicality with emotion,” Krebs tells Marketing Daily. "That emotional aspect becomes more important as vehicles – luxury and non-luxury – reach parity in terms of quality, reliability and features. How those factors are executed becomes the differentiator between brands.”

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