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Domestic brands achieve historic high score on APEAL, says J. D. Power report

SHANGHAI – Chinese domestic brands have substantially narrowed the gap with international brands in overall vehicle appeal, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM released on November 30.

Domestic brands achieved an average APEAL score of 781 points (on a 1,000-point scale), a historic high. They have made significant improvements in the audio, entertainment, navigation and seats categories, each increasing by 11 points from 2011.There were also improvements in the driving dynamics and engine, transmission categories, with each increasing by 7 points from 2011. The APEAL score for international brands, on the other hand, dropped to 839 points in 2012 from 847 in 2011, due to declining satisfaction in the vehicle exterior and storage and space categories.

The overall APEAL score for the industry was 822 points, a 3-point decline compared with 2011.

“The significant price decline that the industry has experienced during the past year is causing a negative impact on owner satisfaction with their vehicle,” said Mei Songlin, vice president and managing director of J.D. Power China operations. “If an owner sees the price of their newly purchased vehicle depreciating dramatically over the months after the purchase, their appreciation of the vehicle’s appeal will be negatively affected.”

Collectively, Korean brands achieved the highest average APEAL score by country of origin for a second consecutive year, with a score of 851 points, a 9-point decline from 2011. European brands collectively average 846 points, followed by U.S. (837) and Japanese (829) brands. Luxury brands achieved the four highest-rank positions among the 67 brands examined in the study. Audi ranks highest with a score of 884, followed by BMW (870), Lexus (864) and Mercedes-Benz (859).

Now in its 10th year, the China APEAL Study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations during the first two to six months of ownership. The study examines 82 attributes across 10 vehicle performance categories: vehicle exterior; vehicle interior; storage and space; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; HVAC; driving dynamics; engine/transmission; visibility and driving safety; and fuel economy.

The 2012 APEAL Study is based on evaluations from 20,270 owners who purchased a new passenger vehicle between October 2011 and June 2012. The study examines 12 vehicle segments, which include 217 passenger vehicle models and 67 brands. The study was fielded from April to August 2012 in 43 major cities across China.

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