Porsche repeats as most appealing brand, Power says

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The Chrysler brand’s score jumped 41 points, the biggest point gain of any brand, with Power largely citing the addition of the all-new Pacifica minivan for the improvement.

Chrysler, Mini, Nissan, Honda and Jeep had the steepest improvements in J.D. Power’s latest study of new-vehicle appeal, while Porsche topped the industry for the 13th straight year.

Luxury brands again dominated the top spots in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study. Newcomer Genesis, which didn’t appear in the rankings last year, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz rounded out the top five.

J.D. Power says the study measures vehicle owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement across 77 factors “ranging from the power they feel when they step on the gas to the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat.” Brands are scored on a 1,000-point scale.

The Chrysler brand’s score jumped 41 points, the biggest point gain of any brand, with Power largely citing the addition of the all-new Pacifica minivan for the improvement.

Mini’s score jumped 30 points to 838, while Nissan experienced a 27-point boost to 811 — finishing just above the industry average of 810. Honda, with two segment-level award winners in the hot-selling CR-V crossover and Ridgeline pickup, had its score rise 25 points to 820. Jeep’s score rose 17 points to 773, leaving the brand third from the bottom.

Nissan and Honda finished above the industry average in 2017 after failing to do so in 2016.

Other notable gains came from Ford (819) and Chevrolet (810), which each had a 16-point improvement.

The bottom five brands were Mitsubishi (750), Fiat (752), Jeep (773), Toyota (792) and Mazda (793).

Mitsubishi’s 20-point decline was the industry’s largest. Jaguar’s score slipped 14 points to 838, but it still finished in the top 10, in a ninth-place tie with Mini.

Volkswagen AG led the way with six model-level awards for the Audi A3, A4 and A7 along with the Porsche 911, Cayenne and Macan. BMW followed with four segment awards, while General Motors and Ford each claimed three.

Overall, the industry average improved by nine points in 2017, tied for the biggest gain ever. The average score for nonpremium brands was 804, a 10-point rise from the previous year. The average score among premium brands moved up one point to 845.

J.D. Power says the 41-point gap between the average premium and nonpremium brand is at an all-time low.

Automakers are steadily packing nonpremium vehicles with technologies normally found in luxury models, which J.D. Power says is helping their scores.

The study, in its 22nd year, is based on responses gathered from February through May from nearly 70,000 buyers and lessees of new 2017 models who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership.

“Many automakers are getting better and better at giving consumers what they want in a vehicle,” Dave Sargent, vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “The industry is doing a very good job of creating vehicles customers like across every segment, and the APEAL study identifies why this is. One clear reason is that nonpremium vehicles are increasingly offering technology and safety features found in premium vehicles.”

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