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 ›

Ford Boosts Fuel Efficiency in Car Models with New Smaller Engine

Ford Motor Company recently announced that it is working on a new small engine—a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder powertrain with its EcoBoost technology. This smaller, fuel-efficient engine may reach the US market later this year in 2012 model-year cars, or will arrive early next year. Ford claims it will deliver horsepower and torque output equivalent to or better than their naturally aspirated 1.6-liter gasoline engine.

Mike Omotoso

The engine is expected to be used in the Ford Fiesta sub-compact, and will possibly be offered as an entry-level engine in the newly redesigned Ford Focus. The Focus and the Fiesta are both selling well, but Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are getting tougher every year, and Ford and other manufacturers need to improve the fuel economy of all cars and trucks in their lineup to meet the higher miles-per-gallon requirements between now and 2016.

Downsizing of Powertrains Continues to Accelerate

In addition to Ford, other automakers have been downsizing their powertrains for the US market, and this trend will only accelerate in the future. The next-generation Chevrolet Malibu (2013 model year) will drop the V-6 option and the new Malibu will only be available with 4-cylinder engines. Continue reading ›

PIN Demographic and Transaction Highlights for Premium Brands

Most premium brands had lower retail turn rates* than the industry average during the first four months of 2011, based on our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data. This year, the Audi brand had the lowest retail turn rate—new vehicles remained an average of only 23 days on dealer lots before being sold—which was even lower than last year’s 34 days, and less than half of the industry average retail turn rate (54 days) during the first four months of 2011. Land Rover had the next lowest turn rate—30 days—down from 35 days in 2010. Lexus followed with a retail turn rate of 36 days, which was up from 29 days in 2010. Continue reading ›

Changes in CAFE to Drive Premium Brand Small Engine Choices in US

The Mercedes-Benz flagship sedan, for the first time in 60 years, will be offered with a 4-cylinder engine outside of the US. In addition, there have been reports about plans for the Volkswagen Group’s Audi and Porsche brands to offer smaller powertrains in some models and General Motors’ Cadillac nameplate also anticipates equipping a . . . Continue Reading Changes in CAFE to Drive Premium Brand Small Engine Choices in US

Premium Brands to Offer Smaller Engine Choices in Asia

Recently, a number of premium automotive brands announced that they would soon offer more eco-friendly and fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines in some of their models in different regions of the world. For instance, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand reports that it will offer its flagship S-Class sedan with a 4-cylinder engine in 2011 in regions outside the . . . Continue Reading Premium Brands to Offer Smaller Engine Choices in Asia