J.D. Power and Associates' released the findings of its 2004 SA Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study on Tuesday. The survey's respondents rated products from BMW, Mercedes and Audi as the top three, and Fiat, Isuzu and Nissan as the bottom three.

J.D. Power and Associates' released the findings of its 2004 SA Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study on Tuesday. The survey's respondents rated products from BMW, Mercedes and Audi as the top three, and Fiat, Isuzu and Nissan as the bottom three.


The inaugural study, based on responses from more than 6 700 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between December 2003 and April 2004, is a customer-driven measure of "things gone right," and covers perceptions on the design, content, layout and performance of their vehicles during the first three to seven months of ownership, a J.D. Power and Associates spokesman said.


BMW finished on top in the overall APEAL Nameplate Index rankings, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Honda and Volvo, respectively. Renault, Citroën, Volkswagen, Peugeot and Hyundai were above average, but Jeep, Ford, Mazda, Chevrolet, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Opel, Fiat, Isuzu and Nissan (in descending order) finished below the industry average.


Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Daihatsu, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, MG, Mini, Rover, Smart and Subaru were not ranked "due to inadequate sample size", the spokesman said.


"Our APEAL research in other markets shows more appealing models tend to sell more quickly and at higher dealer margins than less appealing models," said Brian Walters, senior director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Given the connection to vehicle demand, more appealing models also tend to retain their value better over time than less appealing models."


"While all-new models or recently redesigned models tend to perform best in APEAL, the Volkswagen CitiGolf, which ranks highest in its segment, indicates that with periodic freshening, older designs can maintain their appeal over time," said Walters.



::For the APEAL Study's Nameplate Index Rankings, click here.::

::To view the top vehicles per segment in the study, click here.::

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