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J.D. Power: Consumers Find New, Redesigned Vehicles Most Appealing

The 2011 Hyundai Equus has the highest APEAL rating of any 2011 vehicle, industry-wide.

Given the opportunity to choose any vehicle regardless of price, many consumers  will go for the latest, most decked-out models from BMW or a beefy muscle car like the Dodge Challenger. J.D. Power and Associates’ Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which “examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive,” compliments this attraction to all things new and shiny.

The APEAL study, which measures 81 vehicle attributes on a 1,000-point scale and uses more than 73,000 responses from 2011 model-year purchasers and lessees within the first 90 days of ownership, indicates that vehicle appeal has reached 781, up from 778 in 2010. Overall, consumers are drawn to new and redesigned vehicles, a category that received a score of 29, which is up 11 points from the 2010 APEAL study.

Overall, J.D. Power found that Porsche is the highest ranking brand for the seventh year in a row, and the Hyundai Equus has the highest APEAL score of all 2011 models, industry-wide.  

“The auto industry has taken a battering during the past few years,” said David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates, in a press release. “However, it is clear that throughout this period, automakers have never lost sight of the fact that survival—and ultimately success—only comes from winning over customers in the showroom. Offering highly appealing vehicles is one of the primary means to succeed.”

The APEAL study offers an interesting contradiction to J.D Power’s 2011 Initial Quality Study. Released in June, the study “found the exact opposite to be true, however, as owners of all-new and redesigned vehicles experienced more problems on average than drivers of carryover models,” says The New York Times. “The problems were attributed mainly to complaints in two categories, one of which was related to audio, entertainment and navigation systems.”

But in a conversation with The New York Times, Sargent says the studies don’t contradict one another. The Times summarizes his statement: “New vehicles are appealing because the new technology makes them more enjoyable — when that technology works as designed, that is — yet are more problem-prone because the kinks have not been worked out.”

Here are highest ranked cars from the APEAL Study:

Here are highest ranked trucks and SUVs from the APEAL Study:

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