Cars and trucks from the Detroit Three outperformed foreign brands for the first time since 1997 in a widely followed survey of how appealing vehicles are.
The annual survey by J.D. Power and Associates found that the U.S.-based automakers scored an average of 787 on a 1,000-point scale, 13 points higher than the score for brands from Europe or the Asia-Pacific region.
Scores by the U.S.-based automakers have been rising steadily during the past four years, driven mainly by revamped or completely new models from Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., J.D. Power said in a statement.
Much of the increase came because the U.S.-based automakers have replaced older models that had low appeal scores with vastly improved new models, said David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power.
“When new-vehicle buyers go through the shopping process, vehicle appeal, along with price and perceptions of quality, is of major importance,” Sargent said. “Attributes such as exterior styling are primary determinants of whether a model makes the customer’s consideration list in the first place.”
Last year, foreign brands beat U.S.-based companies by five points, J.D. Power said.
Five Ford models won top honors in their segments this year, more than any other brand in the survey. The Ford Expedition large sport utility vehicle, Explorer Sport Trac SUV/Pickup, Flex midsize crossover, Fusion midsize car and Taurus large car all won their market segments. Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen each had two models topping their segments.
J.D. Power’s APEAL study measures how gratifying a vehicle is to own and drive by checking 80 attributes. The study is based on responses gathered from more than 76,000 people who bought or leased vehicles between February and May of this year. It covers the first 90 days of ownership.
Luxury brands dominated the study, with Porsche tops at 877 based on a 1,000 point scale, followed by Jaguar at 854 and BMW at 846. General Motors’ Buick was the top mainstream brand at 802, followed by Volkswagen at 797.
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