Premium Brands Earn Higher APEAL Scores; Land Rover Range Rover Ranks Highest

David Amodeo

David Amodeo

A new feature of our redesigned 2013 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study is the division and ranking of APEAL performance into two major categories: Premium and Non-Premium Brands.

At the industry level, the APEAL score averages 795 points on a 1,000-point scale. With our change in segment designations, the Premium segment average is 844 points and the Non-Premium segment average is 786.

As it has for the past nine years, Porsche leads all brands in the nameplate rankings and earns a score of 884 points, which also means it ranks highest in the Premium category. Rounding out the top five premium brands are, respectively: Audi (857); BMW (854); and Land Rover (853), followed by Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in a tie (847). The highest-ranking domestic premium brand in the study is Cadillac at No. 7.

In the Non-Premium segment, for the first time, Chrysler Group’s Ram nameplate is the most appealing brand with a score of 817. Ram is followed by Volkswagen (809); MINI (801); Buick (800) and Kia (797) in the Non-Premium category. All of these mass-market brands receive scores that are above the industry average of 795 points. Continue reading ›

Chevrolet Dominates in Model Segment-Level IQS Rankings

General Motors models receive the most segment awards for initial quality in the J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The Detroit-based automaker’s Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC nameplates altogether produce 8 of the 26 model-level segment award winners. The next brands with the most problem-free models at the segment level are manufactured by . . . Continue Reading Chevrolet Dominates in Model Segment-Level IQS Rankings

Porsche Earns Highest IQS Ranking; GMC and Chevrolet Make Top Five

Porsche, the luxury brand that is part of Germany’s Volkswagen Group, ranks highest in initial quality among all nameplates included in the J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study. This year, the German premium sporty brand averages 80 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

Following Porsche in the initial quality rankings this year is GMC, the . . . Continue Reading Porsche Earns Highest IQS Ranking; GMC and Chevrolet Make Top Five

GM’s JV Brands Set March and First-Quarter Sales Records in China

GM-China-HQGeneral Motors and its joint venture operations in China set all-time sales records in the largest passenger-vehicle market during March and through the first quarter of 2013, according to the company. March deliveries rose nearly 13% from a year ago to 290,538 unit sales. It was the second-highest monthly sales tally in GM’s history in China. Its first-quarter total sales in China also rose nearly 10% from last year to 816,373 units.

In related news, GM also outsold Volkswagen Group in China for the first time in the past three quarters, thanks to increased demand for Buick vehicles, according to news reports. China’s auto manufacturers group said that VW’s growth surpassed the overall passenger-vehicle market in China during the first quarter but its increase in March was not as strong. Continue reading ›

Dealerships Rely on Service Business; Single-Point Stores Still Viable

NY Auto Forum Dealer Paneli-CQFWkSW-SThree auto retailer owner/operators discussed opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for dealerships today and in the near future, during a one-day New York Automotive Forum jointly sponsored by J.D. Power and Associates and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) that was held before the New York International Auto Show (March 29 – April 7). The following post features dealer views on service business and the outlook for single-point dealerships.

Moderator: Glenn Mercer, Independent Consultant

Panelists:

Earl Hesterberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, Group 1 Automotive, Houston, TX; the fourth-largest public dealership group in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil (142 dealerships)

Jon Lancaster, Retired Toyota/Lexus Dealer, Madison, WI

Wesley (Wes) L. Lutz, Owner, Extreme Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep, Inc., Jackson, MI

What About the Aging Fleet and Service Work?

Glenn: Moving to the “bricks” side of things—service. As was mentioned in an earlier presentation, the average age of the fleet in the U.S. is something like 11 years. The older model—sweet spot for a dealer was 1-5 years old and the independent aftermarket kicks in at 4-9. Now you’ve got a whole slog of cars that are way out there. Are those lost forever—the 17-year-old car? Or at some point do you think you could claw back this increasingly elderly fleet?

Wes: The whole business model has changed. Ten to 15 years ago we were doing 80% warranty and 20% customer pay. It is now 20% warranty and 80% customer pay. So we are learning as an industry how to approach those customers. For years and years, we didn’t have to worry about those customers. We’d come out with a recall and it was wonderful because our shops were busy all day long. We’re getting better at it and we’re getting more competitive because you have to be competitive today with the price transparency on the Internet. Continue reading ›

Toyota Group, GM Models Receive Most Segment-Level VDS Awards

2010 Lexus RX Series  The Toyota Group earns seven segment-level dependability awards in the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), which is based on responses from owners of 3-year old vehicles (2010 model year). General Motors follows with four segment-level model awards.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s three brands—Toyota, Lexus and Scion—had a total of seven models that received awards for the lowest problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) scores in the 18 award-eligible segments.* One of these models, the Lexus RX, achieves the lowest PP100 score in the industry—57 PP100. This is the first time in the history of the VDS that a crossover or SUV has achieved this distinction, and a 41% improvement in reported problems in comparison to the model’s performance in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS) for 2010. Continue reading ›

Small, Fuel-Efficient Vehicles on the Minds of Many Buyers in March

The Nissan Versa was the best-selling Sub-Compact in March.

Higher fuel prices helped prime sales of smaller and more fuel-efficient passenger cars, especially Sub-Compact and some Compact Conventional segment models, which boosted U.S. new-vehicle deliveries in March for nearly all automakers. The seasonally adjusted annual sales pace (SAAR) was more than 1 million units stronger than a year ago, and many automakers said March sales were their strongest since March 2008.

More than 1.4 million new vehicles were sold in the U.S. market during March, which was up 8.7% (on a selling-day-adjusted basis) from March 2011, when fewer than 1 million units were delivered, according to analysis from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.** The sales pace in March 2012 averaged 14.4 million units vs. 13 million units in March 2011.

At the segment level, Sub-Compact sales soared 36.3% and outperformed the industry, gaining nearly 1 point of share to garner 4.6% of industry sales, while Compact Conventional sales edged up only 3.1%, but still accounted for a 15.8% share of the market. Led by Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, Midsize Conventional segment sales increased by 23.3% and the category captured 2 more points of share to end March with 18.4% of industry sales. Also noteworthy: Large Pickups, up 9.3% as a category and with the help of incentives, outperformed the industry’s 8.7% improvement as the segment garnered a 10.4% share in March 2012. Continue reading ›

Compacts, Car Models Add Momentum to February US Sales Totals

In February, fuel-efficient, compact models, including new and redesigned entries from the Detroit-based automakers, were in demand in the US market. On a selling-day-adjusted basis*, February deliveries were up slightly more than 11% from a year ago, and the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) translated to just over 15.0 million units, based on analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

The Volkswagen Group (+26.8%) and Chrysler Group LLC (+34.8%) posted the largest year-over-year increases and outpaced the industry, despite a spike in gasoline prices, which are up by as much as 45 cents per gallon since the first of the year. At the same time, smaller models were more popular this year. Sub-compact segment deliveries climbed 38% in February vs. a year ago and accounted for 4.3% of industry sales, up from a 3.46% share in the prior year.

Positive factors driving February 2012 deliveries include an improving US economy, a drop in the unemployment rate, an advance in consumer confidence, and better stock market numbers, in addition to pent-up demand from owners replacing their older vehicles. Continue reading ›

Compacts, Crossovers Make Headway in 2011; Pickups in Demand

Three large pickups*, four midsize sedans and three compact models, including two compact conventional cars and one compact crossover (CUV), made up the 10 best-sellers in the US auto market in 2011. Three of the models, including the Ford F-Series, which was the top-volume model in the U.S. for the 30th straight year, were Ford products, while General Motors and Toyota Group each produced two of the 10 models with the highest sales volumes in the US market last year. Renault-Nissan Group and Fiat-Chrysler’s Ram brand each built one of the best-sellers, according to data collected by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

Some highlights for the 20 best-sellers in the US auto market in 2011:

• Half of the 20 best-sellers were domestic-brand models. Continue reading ›

New Duty will Likely Not Impact Chinese Consumers Who Want Luxury Imports

Tim Dunne

I appreciated recent comments from one of our readers, Tim S. from Wisconsin, about a post “New China Duty Only Impacts Makers of Vehicles with Larger Engines” on the minimal impact of a new duty that has been imposed by the Chinese government on cars imported from the U.S.

I want to address some of the reader’s questions and concerns.

First, what percentage of vehicles with larger engines are produced in China by General Motors and Ford? Between GM and Ford, approximately 99% of the vehicles they produced in China in 2011 were fitted with sub-2.5-liter engines.

As for GM and Ford vehicles that are exported to China from the U.S., I would guess (the data is not readily available) that nearly the opposite is true, and that nearly all are fitted with engines greater than 2.5 liters. But let’s put things into perspective: In 2011, GM and Ford built and sold nearly 1.6 million vehicles in China, but their combined exports to China from the U.S. were only some 35,000 vehicles (or a ratio of 50-to-1 of locally built vs. imported vehicles.) Continue reading ›