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U.S. Auto Brands On The Rise According to New J.D. Power Survey

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On: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 11:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

U.S. Auto Brands On The Rise According to New J.D. Power Survey

It's been a rough few years for the American automobile industry, no matter how you cut it. However, it appears that the Detroit Big 3 are benefiting from refocused efforts and the image problems of companies abroad. A new survey from J.D. Power and Associates indicates that American car buyers are actually the most satisfied car consumers in the country.

The Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL) asked 76,000 respondents during February through May about their experience with new vehicles purchased within 90 days. No short-form, like or dislike format, the survey grilled respondents about more than 80 different vehicle criteria to garner a comprehensive look at how drivers felt about their automobiles. The data was then compounded to put together a numeric score on a scale that rises to 1,000.

For the first time in 13 years, American cars were actually triumphant over Asian and European models. Overall, American brands averaged 787 points, which was 13 points higher than imports. This represents a large jump from last year, in which American brands earned a collective 776 and lagged five points behind imports. America's gains were driven largely by new and redesigned models from Ford and GM.

Imports, on the other hand, experienced a drop-off from 2009, slipping below the industry average line (778) to 774, down from 781 last year. Both Honda and Toyota experienced significant drops from last year.

Ford earned a 794, up from 785 in 2009. The brand earned five APEAL segment-level awards, the most of any brand in the study. These awards are given to the best-scoring vehicle in each market segment. The Expedition, Explorer Sport Trac, Flex, Fusion, and Taurus all received awards.

The only U.S. brand that didn't enjoy a solid rating was Chrysler. While the Ram truck brand scored well, other Chrysler brands—Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep were below national averages. Jeep had the lowest score of any individual brand with 727. Ram trucks separated from Dodge cars last year.

American cars performed well in the mass-market segment, but imports dominated the luxury market. Porsche took home the very top spot in the study, earning a score of 877. Jaguar (854) and BMW (846) followed closely behind. American luxury brands were relegated to the bottom of the premium segment with Lincoln earning an 820 and Cadillac scored 818.

J.D. Power also compiled a list of individual model winners that includes the 2010 Honda Fit, 2010 BMW 3 Series, and 2010 Mercedes Benz S-Class. According to J.D. Power, cars that perform well on APEAL typically bring in fast sales numbers and high profit margins.

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