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News J.D. Power 2021 APEAL Study Hands Out its Best Awards

J.D. Power 2021 APEAL Study Hands Out its Best Awards

J.D. Power’s APEAL awards are about feelings and emotions

  • APEAL stands for Automotive Performance Execution and Layout.

  • Porsche, GM, Ford, and Dodge are all winners.

  • Tesla is the unofficial winner. 

No matter how objective anyone can be about their vehicles, emotions are typically the driving factor behind the final purchase decision and how and why we appreciate our new car. These feelings are real and can influence others into buying a vehicle or another. J.D. Power’s APEAL awards measure these emotions.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S | Photo: Olivier Delorme

There are 37 attributes “measured” in this study, from the sense of comfort felt when climbing into the driver’s seat to the exhilaration delivered by the car when the driver steps on the accelerator.

“One of the biggest factors driving the industry’s improvement this year is the introduction of several highly appealing new models,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “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.”

The highlights of the study reveal that mass-market brands are growing in emotional appeal. The gap between premium and “regular” brands was once considerable however it is shrinking. Dodge could be credited with narrowing the gap as, for the second year in a row, it is the top-ranking mass-market brand. Overall, it is tied with Porsche, the reigning premium brand – an impressive feat.

Tesla Model S

Interestingly, Tesla is the unofficial highest-scoring brand in the study. Its result is unofficial as Tesla doesn’t grant J.D. Power permission to survey owners in 15 of the 50 states. Based on the remaining 35, Tesla knocks it out of the park.

When it comes to individual models, GM, BMW, the Hyundai Motor Group, and Nissan walk away with at least three winners in their respective categories. Here are the award recipients:

  • General Motors Company: Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Sierra HD
  • BMW AG: BMW 4 Series, BMW X4, BMW X6, and BMW X7
  • Hyundai Motor Group: Genesis G80, Kia K5, and Kia Telluride
  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.: Nissan Maxima, Nissan Sentra, and Nissan Versa
  • Ford Motor Company: Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Daimler AG: Mercedes-Benz CLA
  • Honda Motor Company: Honda Ridgeline
  • Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Land Rover Defender
  • Stellantis NV: Ram 1500
  • Toyota Motor Corporation: Toyota Sienna
  • Volvo Motor Corporation: Volvo XC40

The study is fascinating and worth a look. You might be surprised, or not, about your car brand’s positioning depending on how you feel about it.

Source: J.D. Power

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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