Westlake Village, California – Porsche ranked highest overall for vehicle appeal, while Ford topped other automakers with five awards in vehicle segments in the J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study. It was the sixth consecutive year Porsche took the top spot, and the first time since 1997 that domestic brands, collectively, surpassed import brands as a whole.

In 2010, the APEAL score for U.S. domestic brands averaged 787 on a 1,000-point scale, 13 points higher than brands headquartered in Europe or Asia Pacific. By comparison, imports outpaced domestics by five points in 2009. Import nameplates continue to retain a notable edge among premium models, but mass-market models from domestic brands outperform those from import brands. Domestic brands have improved steadily in vehicle appeal during the past four years, with the greatest improvement between 2008 and 2010. The 2010 improvement was driven primarily by high-performing models from Ford and General Motors.

“Domestic automakers have performed three important actions during the past two years that have led to their gains,” said David Sargent, vice-president of global vehicle research. “Firstly, they have retired many models that demonstrated low appeal. They have also introduced new, highly-appealing models to their lineups, and finally, they have improved their existing models through freshenings and redesigns.”

Porsche remained the highest-ranking nameplate, while Suzuki improved more than any other nameplate in 2010 when compared with 2009.

Ford captured five awards for the Expedition, Explorer Sport Trac, Flex, Fusion and Taurus. Tied with two awards were Audi (Q5 and Q7), BMW (3 Series and 5 Series), Chevrolet (Avalanche and Camaro), Mercedes-Benz (E-Class Coupe and S-Class), and Volkswagen (GTI and Routan). The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which took the lead in its segment for the fourth consecutive year, had the highest APEAL score of any model in the industry.

Also receiving awards were the GMC Terrain, Honda Fit, Land Rover Range Rover, Nissan Cube, and for a third consecutive year, the Mini Cooper.

The Chevrolet Avalanche and Ford Taurus were the only two models that ranked highest in their respective segments in both the 2010 APEAL Study and the 2010 Initial Quality Study, released in June.

The APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on more than 80 vehicle attributes. The study is based on responses from more than 76,0000 purchasers and lessees of new 2010 vehicles who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership.

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