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Hyundai, Porsche top Power rankings

AUTO NEWS

Published July 25, 2014

Study shows consumers put highest value on features that are easy to use

J.D. Power’s annual APEAL study measures “how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive,” a rather important consideration for consumers and the automakers that are trying to woo them.

The 2014 study marks the tenth year in a row that sports and luxury car manufacturer Porsche has topped the rankings, which are now in their 19th year.

Top spot in the non-premium brands went to Hyundai this year, which scored above the industry average.

This year’s study found that while manufacturers continue to add new technologies and features to their vehicles, consumers really just want features that are easy to use.

Interestingly, despite the efforts of manufacturers to improve fuel economy, the scores in this category remain the lowest even though fuel economy numbers have improved.

Unrealistic consumer expectations likely have a lot to do with this, as Renee Stephens, vice-president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power points out that “many factors influence the fuel performance of a vehicle.”

“An important factor is how the engine and transmission are tuned by the manufacturers. Automakers must find the right balance between owner expectations of fuel economy and areas that affect the driving experience, such as horsepower and transmission performance, which is not an easy task. Customers are not always happy with the trade-off between those characteristics.”

I could sum that one up to say that you can have performance, or you can have fuel economy.

You can’t have both.

RM Auctions reaches out

to hire new marketing guru

A past member of the Wheels team, Laurance Yap, has made a career change the likes of which is a dream for many automotive enthusiasts.

He’s been enjoying a dream job as the director of marketing for Porsche Canada, where he was instrumental in determining the direction of the brand in this country and bringing the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge to our community.

Yap has left Porsche to take on the role of director of marketing at RM Auctions in Blenheim, Ont. The Canadian company is the top collector car auction house on the planet, and the move means that Yap is surrounded on a daily basis by some of the coolest cars ever built.

As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also surrounded by some of the most interesting people in the car hobby.

Opel Group formed to oversee

all GM operations in Europe

In a story a couple of weeks ago, I made brief mention that GM would be removing the Chevrolet brand from the European market in 2015.

That news was the precursor to the announcement that GM has formed a new entity called the Opel Group, which will oversee all of GM’s activities in Europe.

With headquarters in Russelsheim, Germany, the organization will be led by Karl-Thomas Neumann.

Pfaff Auto brings ultra exotic

Pagani brand to Canada

Fans of the ultra exotic Pagani brand of super-cars will be excited to learn that the sultry Italian machines will now be available for sale in Canada thanks to the folks at Pfaff Automotive.

A relative newcomer to the exotic car market, Pagani was formed in 1992 by Argentinian Horacio Pagani, whose cars have rapidly become among the most sought after works of automotive art on the market.

Powered by a 730 horsepower Mercedes-Benz AMG V-12 engine, the company’s newest offering, called the Huayra, has the performance to back up its exciting looks.

Pfaff’s new Pagani dealership is located at Pfaff McLaren, 33 Auto Park Circle in Woodbridge.

Audi builds six millionth Quattro

Regular Wheels readers may have noticed that I am a huge fan of rally sport. I am also a firm believer in the old saying that racing improves the breed and the brand.

Few examples of this are as striking as Audi’s Quattro. Ask any enthusiast what the name Quattro means to them and most will tell you about the fearsome Group B rally cars of the early 1980s.

Ask the general public and chances are that Quattro means Audi. From its beginning as an ultra exotic motorsports tool, Audi’s all-wheel drive system has come to be the defining descriptor of the automaker’s brand.

So much so that last week, when a Monsoon Grey Metallic Audi SQ5 3.0 TDI Quattro rolled off Audi’s Ingolstadt, Germany, production line, the company had produced an incredible six million Quattro drive vehicles.

But rather than to a museum, this vehicle is headed to a family in the United States.

wheels@thestar.ca

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