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Hyundai, Porsche top Power rankings

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

  • Cars in a parking lot


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.


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