October 18, 2004
New Chevy Malibu, Chrysler 300 score well in J.D. Power and Associates APEAL survey
Westlake Village, California – Several redesigned vehicles successfully boosted their appeal over the models they replaced with bold styling and novel features that connect with owners, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study released last week.
There are 43 all-new or redesigned models in the 2004 APEAL Study, which measures owner delight with the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles – the most launches included in the study in recent years. Among major redesigns, the Chevrolet Malibu and the Chrysler 300/300C stand out with dramatic improvements in APEAL scores over their previous models. While the highest ratings are in the cockpit/instrument panel category for the Malibu and in exterior styling for the 300/300C, both models benefit from a boost in horsepower over the models they replace, with strong improvements in engine/transmission ratings.
“Vehicles that engage customers immediately upon first sight tend to keep those customers around to learn more about the vehicles,” said Joe Ivers, partner and executive director of quality/customer satisfaction at J.D. Power and Associates. “A model launch or redesign is a manufacturer’s biggest opportunity to take advantage of this during the model’s life cycle.”
Among all-new models, the Nissan Armada, Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac GTO (not sold in Canada) each debut at the top of the rankings in their respective segments.
Lexus continues to rank highest among nameplates, boasting two segment-leading SUV models: RX 330 and LX 470. Among luxury nameplates, Cadillac and Jaguar make the biggest improvements. Cadillac showed improvement on almost all models, and receives strong ratings for the all-new SRX. Jaguar’s improvement comes mainly from the new aluminum XJ, which far exceeds its predecessor in APEAL. Mazda and Mitsubishi make the strongest improvements among non-luxury brands. Mazda benefits from strong ratings for the new Mazda3 and the RX8, while Mitsubishi’s gain rides on the new Galant and the Endeavor. Nissan continues to launch vehicles with high APEAL scores, including strong debuts for the Armada, Titan and Quest.
The 2004 APEAL Study is based on responses from 102,951 new-vehicle owners who were surveyed during the first 90 days of ownership. The study, now in its ninth year, is based on eight categories of vehicle performance and design: engine/transmission; ride, handling and braking; comfort/convenience; seats; cockpit/instrument panel; heating, ventilation and cooling; sound system; and styling/exterior.