SHANGHAI – Automobile industry evaluator J.D. Power (Asia Pacific) released its 2009 China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study SM on November 27. General Motors Corporation brands won three segment awards for one Buick model and two Chevrolet models. Among nameplates, Honda and Nissan models received two awards each, while Audi, JAC and Wuling models each received one award.
The A-Class sedan Tojoy, produced by Anhui-based Jianghuai Automobile Co., Ltd. (JAC), dwarfs many Sino-foreign joint venture brand car models and won the top prize of the premium compact segment with a score of 758. The Tojoy, launched to the global market in November 2008, is also the only sedan from a Chinese independent brand to earn the highest APEAL score out of the nine sedan segment markets.
Sales of the Tojoy totaled 55,368 units in the first 11 months of 2009, up 11,936.52 percent from the previous year, according to CBU-Autostats.
The Tojoy has been sold to over 30 countries such as Syria and Chile and exports have totaled over 2,000 units.
The SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., Ltd.-made Wuling Rongguang took the crown in the minivan segment. CBU-Autostats shows that SAIC-GM-Wuling sold a total of 983,737 vehicles (845,552 are minivans) in the first 11 months of 2009, a jump of 65.16 percent from the same period a year ago.
However, the APEAL report shows that owner satisfaction with new-vehicle performance and design in China has remained flat during the same time frame, despite considerable efforts made by automakers in China to improve new-vehicle quality over the past three years.
In 2009, the APEAL score averaged 799 on a 1,000-point scale, compared with 800 in 2008 and 797 in 2007. Meanwhile, the new-vehicle initial quality in China improved substantially between 2007 and 2009, boasting a reduction of 24 problems per 100 vehicles in that timeframe.
2009 was the seventh year J.D. Power ran its APEAL study in China. The study examines what gratifies owners in China regarding their new vehicles’ performance and design during the first two to six months of ownership.
“Rapid evolution of the automotive industry in China has led to intensified competition and heightened customer expectations,” said Katy Wang, senior research manager at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “While manufacturers in China have made substantial quality improvements, they will need to put additional effort into product innovation in order to keep pace with these expectations and increase owner satisfaction.”
The highest-ranked models by segment in 2009 are:
Compact segment: Chevrolet Spark
Premium compact segment: JAC Tojoy
Entry midsize segment: Nissan Tiida
Midsize segment: Nissan Sylphy
Lower premium midsize segment: Chevrolet Epica
Upper premium midsize segment: Buick Regal
Luxury segment: Audi A6L
SUV segment: Honda CR-V
MPV segment: Honda Odyssey
Minivan segment: Wuling Rongguang