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  • Gas Engine Buyers Remain More Satisfied Than EV Owners, But Gap Narrows

    Gas Engine Buyers Remain More Satisfied Than EV Owners, But Gap Narrows

    J.D. Power is sharing the results of its new 2022 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The survey, in its 27th year, surveys customer satisfaction with their new wheels.  Overall, new-vehicle satisfaction drops among new car buyers for the first time since 2014. As for the top brands, Porsche and Dodge rank highest among premium and mass market rankings.  

    Gas vs. EV Buyers

    The study also found that while gas-engine buyers remain more satisfied than all-electric vehicle owners, the gap between the two is closing. Researchers say gas-only buyers are typically more satisfied with fuel economy and range over BEV owners. This year, while BEV owners have a similar, albeit slightly lower, level of satisfaction with charge times and driving range as they did a year ago, high gas prices resulted in a noticeable decrease in fuel economy/range satisfaction among owners of gas-powered vehicles.  The gap between economy/range is only 7 points (on a 1,000-point scale).

    J.D. Power says the drop in economy/range satisfaction contributed to a one-point decline in overall new-vehicle satisfaction, the first decline since 2014 and only the fifth year-over-year decline in the 27-year history of the study.

    “The most important factor leading to the industry decline this year is owners’ perception of their vehicle’s fuel economy,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. "The study was fielded as fuel prices were experiencing a meteoric rise, and that pinch at the pump is conveyed in lower vehicle satisfaction. Battery-electric vehicles have not been negatively affected by the increase in fuel costs but do have issues related to battery range and charging time.”

    J.D. Power says there are some exceptions to the trend, like the Kia EV6 and Mercedes-Benz EQS, BEV models that rank highest in their respective segments.  However, most segment leaders in emotional appeal are conventional gasoline-powered cars, trucks, vans and SUVs.

    Notable newcomers to the market that top their segments are the Jeep Wagoneer, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Kia Carnival, Genesis GV70 and Hyundai Santa Cruz.

    The J.W. Power APEAL Study measures owners' emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle.  Owners are asked consider 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort they feel when climbing into the driver's seat to the exhilaration they get when they step on the accelerator.  Responses are aggregated to compute an overall APEAL Index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.

    Following are key findings of the 2022 study, as outline in the J.D. Power press release:

    • Mass market brands decrease in emotional appeal: The 19-point gap in score between premium and mass market brands in 2021 has widened to 31 points this year, as mass market brands decline 4 points and premium brands improve 8 points.
    • Repeats for top mass market and premium brands: Dodge is the highest-ranked mass market brand in APEAL for a third consecutive year with a score of 882, identical to its score a year ago. Porsche, a perennial top-performing premium brand in APEAL, ranks highest among all brands with a score of 888, a six-point improvement from 2021. “While these brands are very different, both Dodge and Porsche owners identify strongly with their vehicles,” Amodeo said. “That certainly contributes to their stellar APEAL Study results.”
    • Electrified vehicles are not as appealing as gas vehicles: Hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) have lower composite APEAL Index scores than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. The score for PHEVs is 835 and is 832 for hybrids. In comparison, the composite index score for gasoline-powered vehicles is 846. Battery-electric vehicles (excluding Tesla) also underperform gasoline vehicles in APEAL with an index score of 838. Tesla vehicles are summarized separately from the BEV composite score because the brand's dominance in the category would skew the results of all other BEVs. It is important to understand that certain attributes of Tesla models continue to outperform other BEVs, though there are notable challengers emerging such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS.
    • Tesla Motors officially included for the first time: Tesla Motors is included in the industry calculation for the first time, with a score of 887. However, because Tesla Motors does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the states where that permission is required by law, Tesla models remain ineligible for awards.

    Highest-Ranking Premium Brands

    1. Porsche (888)  
    2. Genesis(886)  
    3. Cadillac (885)  

    Highest-Ranking Mass-Market Brands

    1. Dodge (882)
    2. Ram (863) 
    3. GMC (856) 

    Jeep is the biggest gainer in the mass market rankings, placing seven rank positions higher than in 2021. CadillacMercedes-BenzJaguar and INFINITI gain the most in the premium brand rankings, up three places year over year. INFINITI is the biggest gainer in terms of points, improving 24 points from a year ago.

    Model-Level APEAL Awards

    The parent company receiving the most model-level awards (for models ranking highest in their respective segments) is Hyundai Motor Group (seven awards), followed by BMW AGNissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Stellantis NV with three awards each.

    The complete list of award recipients is:

    The BMW X6 is the highest-ranking individual model. It, along with the Nissan Versa and Ram 1500 each receive model-level awards for a third consecutive year.

    To see the complete rankings  visit J.D. Powers.

    About the Study

    The 2022 U.S. APEAL Study is based on responses from 84,165 owners of new 2022 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study was fielded from February 2022 through May 2022, based on vehicles registered from November 2021 through February 2022.

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