Findings from the most recent JD Power study held some surprises.
The Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study, otherwise known as APEAL, measures how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive.
The ratings are established by asking new vehicle owners about 77 different aspects of their new cars after 90 days of ownership. A strong showing in the APEAL study means a company has good brand loyalty and a decent shot at repeat business, according to JD Power.
A safe assumption is that many of the most appealing vehicles on the market would also be best sellers, because the best way to show that a vehicle appeals to you is by voting with your wallet. But the results of the 2015 APEAL study often contradict this.
That means that either a huge contingent of consumers are buying unappealing cars, or the questions that JD Power asks in its survey are not getting to the true heart of the issue (when asked to provide a list of the survey questions, JD Power representatives declined).
Read on to see some of the surprising findings from the 2015 APEAL Study.
1. Japanese brands in the tank
Toyota, Honda, Subaru and Nissan all sit in the bottom 10 brands on the list, which means that their vehicles are not all that appealing to customers.
And yet, Subaru is enjoying record sales right now, seeing its 43rd consecutive month of sales growth in June. Toyota is the No. 1 selling automotive retail brand through June, with sales up 4 percent year-to-date. Honda sales are up about one percent over last year, while Nissan also saw a jump in sales, up 4.2 percent year-over-year.
It’s not a case of these being the budget brands, either. Plenty of mainstream brands, including Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Buick, Ram and more, managed to score above the industry average of 798 points.
2. Chevrolet Corvette is more appealing than a Porsche 911
But if you’re looking at straight up appeal, suggesting that a Corvette would be more gratifying to own than a Porsche 911, arguably one of the most aspirational German sports cars out there, seems a bit far fetched.
3. Lincoln is more appealing than Lexus, Cadillac and Infiniti
Lincoln is on a sales upswing right now, improving by a solid 20 percent year-over-year in June. But that only equates to 8,326 units sold, a far cry from Lexus, which moved 26,121 units in the same month. So how come Lincoln ranked 7th while Lexus was 10th?
Infiniti and Cadillac are closer to Lincoln in overall June 2015 sales sitting at 9,985 and 13,515, but still, Lincoln sells the least vehicle out of any of these brands.
Maybe those ads with Matthew McConaughey really worked.
4. Dodge Challenger is the most appealing midsize sport car
Once again, the Challenger is a cool car. Especially the Hellcat (it’s hard not to love a car with 707 hp).
But this Dodge muscle car has no business in the “midsize” sports car category. What’s more, it beat out the Mustang, which always sells more units annually than the Dodge.
5. Infiniti QX80 is more appealing than a Range Rover
The Infiniti QX80 was named the most appealing large premium SUV, beating out the Land Rover Range Rover, Lincoln Navigator and the Cadillac Escalade, the latter of which didn’t even crack the industry average.
First off, the Range Rover has the QX80 outsold by about 1,700 units so far this year, and it is much more expensive. Besides sales, Range Rovers have always been aspirational products that are constantly in the spot light, while the QX80 is constantly overlooked. It’s also been widely accepted as one of the ugliest cars on the market.
6. Mazda6 is most appealing midsize sedan
The Mazda6 is definitely an appealing car. With solid driving dynamics and a sexy design, Mazda’s midsize sedan appeals to those who love to drive, but it has never sold that well.
So far in 2015, 32,307 Mazda6 sedans have been sold, a drop in the bucket when you consider that Hyundai has moved 95,821 Sonatas, and a pittance when you see that Toyota has moved 215,816 Camrys so far in 2015.
7. Ford Expedition tops large SUV rankings
You would think that a freshly updated vehicle fitted with new engines and equipment would be more appealing than a vehicle that is riding on a platform that is nearly 10 years old, right? Well, the Ford Expedition came out ahead of the new Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon in the APEAL study, proving that theory wrong.
Though the SUV was refreshed lightly this year, it still rides on the same bones as the 2007 Expedition. And the sales numbers show that it makes a difference.
Year-to-date, 42,091 Chevy Tahoes have been sold compared to just 20,863 Expeditions.