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Key Tidbits From 2021 J.D. Power APEAL Study

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The results of J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (“APEAL”) Study were released yesterday. The study surveys the emotional connectivity of the owners with their new cars. Consumer-provided data is compiled and converted by J.D. Power into an overall index score on a 1,000-point scale. The higher the score a vehicle gets, the greater its appeal. The latest results were based on responses from 110,827 buyers of new 2021 model-year vehicles during their first 90 days of ownership.

Mass Market Brands’ Appeal Rising

One of the most interesting finds of the study was the growing attachment levels for mass-market vehicles, signaling that a car’s price tag may no longer be directly proportional to the driving experience. This makes sense as automakers are rolling out various models, offering amazing features, technology and style at all price points. The average APEAL score for mass-market brands was 845, higher than last year’s 838. Indeed, the luxury brands are still topping the charts, with the average APEAL score for premium brands being 864. Yet, the gap between the scores of mainstream and high-end brands has been narrowing of late. This year’s 19-point gap was down from a 23-point gap in 2020.

It’s a Tie Between Premium Porsche and Mainstream Dodge

Perennial premium-brand APEAL leader, Porsche — owned by Volkswagen (VWAGY - Free Report) — continued its winning streak with a score of 882. What’s exciting to note here is that Stellantis’ (STLA - Free Report) mass-market brand, Dodge, also scored an 882. Dodge not only bagged the top spot in mass-market brands in the APEAL study, it even ranked second in J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study that was released a couple of weeks back.

Tesla Tops the Study Albeit Unofficially

While Porsche was the official winner among premium market brands, Tesla’s (TSLA - Free Report) score of 893 was the highest. However, since the electric vehicle (EV) behemoth refuses to grant permission to survey its owners in 15 states, which is a requirement for participation, the lead is only unofficial. Tesla’s score was calculated based on a sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

General Motors Wins the Maximum Awards

U.S. auto biggie General Motors (GM - Free Report) won a total of five awards for Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Sierra HD models. Germany-based auto giant BMW AG (BAMXF - Free Report) was close behind and grabbed the second spot with four winners including BMW 4 Series, and X4, X6, and X7 SUVs. Hyundai Motor and Nissan Motor (NSANY - Free Report) tied for the third spot, winning three awards each. Hyundai winning models cover Genesis G80, Kia K5, and Kia Telluride, and that of Nissan’s include Maxima, Sentra, and Versa models.

Other Key Wins

With an index score of 868, Nissan Sentra clinched the top prize in the compact car segment. Ford’s (F - Free Report) Mustang Mach-E, which has received strong reception from the public and has already become the second most popular electric SUV in the United States since its roll out in late 2020, led the compact SUV segment with a score of 880. It should be noted that Mach-E was the only EV to bag a top spot in any of the 19 segments. RAM 1500 and GMC Sierra HD emerged winners in the large light-duty and heavy-duty pickup segments.