September 22, 2005

Buyers increasingly attracted to comfort and convenience

Westlake Village, California – New-vehicle buyers are increasingly attracted to models that offer high levels of comfort and convenience, reports J.D. Power and Associates.

The findings are from the company’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study, now in its tenth year, which measures owners’ delight with the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles. The 2005 study included more than fifty all-new or redesigned models. While styling and exterior design continue to be most important to new-car buyers, interior features such as seats, comfort and convenience have increased in importance over the past five years.

The study found that models receiving exceptionally high APEAL ratings generally stay on dealer lots for less time before being sold. Examples are the Honda Ridgeline, which ranks highest in APEAL in the compact pickup segment and which stays on dealer lots an average of 24 days, compared to the segment average of 77 days; and the Nissan Murano, top-ranked among midsize SUVs, which stays an average of 47 days, compared to 72 days.

Four Lexus models top their segment rankings, while Chevrolet, Kia, Honda and Nissan each receive two segment awards. It is the first time Kia models have ranked highest in a segment in the study.

Among all-new or redesigned models in the 2005 study, the Pontiac G6, Toyota Avalon, Lexus GS300/GS 430, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, Honda Ridgeline, Kia Sportage, Lexus RX 400h and Honda Odyssey each ranked highest in their respective segments. Also topping segment rankings are the Mini Cooper, Kia Amanti, Lexus IS 300/IS 300 SportCross, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus LS 430, Cadillac Escalade EXT, GMC Sierra HD, Nissan Murano, Nissan Armada, Land Rover Range Rover, and Chevrolet Express.

The study is based on responses from more than 115,000 U.S. new-vehicle owners who were surveyed during the first ninety days of ownership.

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