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A new report by J.D. Power and Associates claims that 49% of American car buyers opted for four-cylinder powertrains in cars and light-trucks purchased during the month of April. Concerns over fuel economy and gas prices helped spark a trend in consumers picking the smaller engines in the first quarter of 2010, with 46.5% choosing them, versus 41.9% last year.
Manufacturers are also hoping on the four-banged only bandwagon. Hyundai‘s Sonata and Buick‘s all-new Regal are both available exclusively with four-cylinder engines, and offer turbocharged variants for those who want six-cylinder power. The Regal has historically offered six or eight cylinder powerplants, but GM and Hyundai feel that technologies like direct-injection, six-speed gearboxes and turbocharging will give consumers the perfect blend of power and fuel economy.
With most four-cylinders developing the same power as the V6 engines did a decade ago, the reasons for buying a V6 sedan look increasingly redundant, and consumers are beginning to take notice. After all, who needs a 300 horsepower V6 family car when the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo puts out 274 horses and 34 miles per gallon on the highway?
[Source: USA Today]
Lexus continues to slide in J.D. Power VDS ratings
J.D. Power has just released its Vehicle Dependability (VDS) Study for 2010, giving the top spot to Porsche, followed closely by Lincoln and Buick. Only one of the three, Buick, was on the podium last year, but has dropped from first to third. Also of significance is the continued slide by Lexus, which finds itself in fourth place this year. Last year Lexus placed third, marking the first time in 14 years the luxury Japanese automaker didn’t take first. That’s nothing compared to Jaguar, however, which dropped a total of 21 spots from second last year to 22nd for 2010.
Other big movers include Ford, moving up six spots to 8th overall.
Included in this year’s results, J.D. Power thought to mention several automakers that placed highly, but which aren’t generally considered by consumers due to poor brand perception about reliability. These include Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mercury. No doubt these brands will all see improved brand perception and sales in the years to come.
Despite its recall woes this year, Toyota continues to perform highly, placing sixth overall and taking home the most vehicle segment awards, for models such as the Highlander, Prius, Sequoia and Tundra. Honda, in seventh place overall, took home three for the CR-V, Fit and Ridgeline.
Overall, J.D. Power found that vehicle dependability has improved by 7 percent.
The 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study was based on responses by more than 52,000 vehicle owners with three-year-old (2007) models. Scores are based on the number of problems per 10p vehicles, with lower scores indicating a higher quality.
GALLERY: J.D. Power 2010 Vehicle Dependability Study
Official release after the jump:
Porsche tops list while U.S. automakers show most improvement
Each year J.D. Power & Associates does a study that examines the most appealing cars to consumers and this year there is one big surprise. The Hyundai Genesis sedan topped the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF in the mid-sized luxury segment for the 2009 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.
The APEAL Study is based off of owner evaluations of over 80,900 new car consumers from February to May 2009 and takes into account over 90 factors and generally evaluates how those buyers or leasers feel about their car new car.
Other winners include the VW Passat in the Mid-sized car segment, the Nissan Maxima in the Large Car segment, the Honda Odyssey in the Minivan Segment, a tie between the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Avalanche in the Pickup Truck segment and the Smart fortwo in the Sub-compact Car segment. And on that note, we urge you to take the list with a grain of salt, as the Smart beat out cars like the Honda Fit.
In terms of manufacturers, Porsche topped the list for the fifth consecutive year, while domestic brands like Dodge, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac showed the most improvement. As a manufacturer Cadillac placed third overall.
Overall, scores for 2009 improved over 2008, due mostly to improvements in the fuel-economy segment. J.D. Power lists three contributing factors to this increase: improved fuel-economy of the vehicles; an increase in ownership of fuel-efficient cars, with over 50 percent (as compared to 39 percent in 2008) of the surveyed vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines; and a drop in fuel prices that has also meant consumers are less interested in fuel economy.
One other trend that has emerged is the increasing appeal of domestic brands, as they ranked, on average, just five points below import brands. This compares to a difference of 15 points last year and 27 points in 2007.
GALLERY: J.D. Power 2009 APEAL Study
A new survey out of the U.K. by J.D. Power & Associated in association with automotive resource What Car? might be great new for Lexus… but it’s quite the opposite for both Chrysler and its new bosses at Fiat.
The Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) lets owners of three year old cars rate those vehicles and Chrysler did not do well. In fact, it finished dismally, ranking in the second last place.
You might think Chrysler’s new bosses at Fiat wouldn’t be too pleased about the results, but Fiat has its own problems, with a ranking of dead last.
The survey includes info on vehicle quality and reliability, appeal, ownerships costs and overall satisfaction. In total 15,700 online interviews were conducted for 29 brands on 101 models.
Lexus topped the list (for the ninth consecutive year), followed by Honda and then Mercedes-Benz.
[Source: J.D. Power & Associates]
For the first time in 15 years Lexus is not the most dependable brand according to J.D. Power & Associates. The torch has instead been passed on to luxury competitor Jaguar as well as to GM’s Buick brand.
Both Buick and Jaguar came from well behind in the pack to eclipse Lexus in the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, which ranks reported problems of 3-year old models.
Buick, which ranked 6th last year, and Jaguar, which placed a distant 10th in 2008, are tied for the top spot this year.
Lexus continues to hold on to the second spot, with Toyota and Mercury following closely.
David Sargent, J.D. Power’s VP of auto research told Automotive News that, “Part of GM’s historical challenge has been that the customer’s perception of GM’s vehicles has been not in line with reliability. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago their vehicles weren’t as reliable as some of the imports, but I think today they’ve virtually caught up.”
In fact, two years ago Buick actually tied Lexus for the top spot.
The J.D. Power research shows that owners of Buick and Jaguar models reported an average of 122 problems per 100 vehicles, compared to 126 problems per 100 vehicle for Lexus owners.
Lexus can, however, still lay claim to the most reliable vehicle, the LS430, with the fewest problems reported – just 61 for every 100 vehicles.
J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Study is even more important this year as with the current recession owners are opting to hold on to vehicles rather than purchase new ones. According to J.D. Power, owners of new vehicles are holding on to their cars for an average of 73 months, up from 66 months in 2006.
As for the worst brands in the industry, GM may have the nefarious distinction of having six of its brands below average 170 problems per 100 vehicles, but none of those are the worst offenders. The least reliable brands are Mazda, Isuzu, Land Rover and Volkswagen with Suzuki in last position.
Reclaiming the top spot for 2008, Jaguar now holds the title for four of the past five years
Jaguar has once again been awarded the top spot in the J.D. Power & Associates Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. After missing out for 2007, Jaguar’s return to the top of the list is the company’s fourth first-pace ranking in the past five years.
The Study, which has been run by J.D. Power for the past 22 years, is based on responses from 35,805 new-vehicle buyers who registered their vehicles in May 2008. The survey is based on five factors: the dealership facility, the sales staff, the paperwork and finance process, the delivery process and the vehicle price.
For 2008 Jaguar also placed first in the J.D. Power & Associates Customer Service Index (CSI) Study for the second year in a row.
Official release after the jump: