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More Money, More Problems? Not Here. Study Finds Mass-Market Car Buyers Nearly As Happy As Luxury Owners

RAM was the top mass-market brand

July 24, 2019 - 8:41 am

(WWJ) More money, more problems? Not so fast. Even as people are paying more for vehicles, a new study shows they are also liking those vehicles more.  

J.D. Power's annual Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) study -- which measures vehicle owners' emotional attachment and level of excitement after the first 90 days of ownership -- found that the average satisfaction-index score increased by three points from 2018 to 2019. Twenty-two of 32 brands in the study improved from 2018.

Improved technology, including crash avoidance, and connectivity, are leading in improved customer satisfaction. 

"Their expectations are rising all the time," Dave Sargent, vice president of Global Automotive at J.D. Power, told WWJ's Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert. He added it's a constant battle to stay abreast of increasing consumer demands.

RAM was the top mass-market brand. Pickup trucks, overall, did well, and that helped Ford.

Also, per Detnews.com, the study also found that the gap between luxury and mass-market brands has narrowed. The average APEAL score for luxury brands is 853 compared with 818 for mass-market brands. That's the narrowest gap between the two in the study's 24-year history. 

But there's always room for improvement.

“Satisfaction with new technology is improving, but infotainment remains an area where automakers can get better,"  Dave Sargent, vice president of Global Automotive at J.D. Power Dave Sargent, said in a statement.