Dodge, Ram top mass market brands in J.D. Power APEAL study

Riley Beggin
The Detroit News

Stellantis NV brands Dodge and Ram were customers' favorite mass market vehicles in the 2022 J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study released Thursday. 

General Motors Co.'s GMC brand took third place in the mass market APEAL study, which measures drivers' "emotional attachment and level of excitement" with their new vehicles. 

A 2022 Dodge Challenger. Dodge and Ram brands topped the mass market J.D. Power APEAL list this year.

It marks the third year Dodge led the study's mass market list: "A car that people love to drive, people turning their heads on your product, it just makes it that much easier in the marketplace," said Jeffrey Kommor, head of U.S. Sales for Stellantis. "So we're really excited."

The study asks customers to rank cars based on 37 attributes, including the feeling of comfort when they get in the driver's seat and the "exhilaration" they get when they press the gas pedal. Owners' responses are aggregated to create a score measured on a 1,000-point scale. 

However, mass market brands became less appealing overall while premium brands rose in popularity, the study found, widening the gap between the two segments from 19 points in 2021 to 31 points in 2022. 

Volkswagen AG's Porsche was the highest-ranked premium brand, followed by Hyundai Motor Co.'s Genesis and GM's Cadillac. Dodge received a score of 882 points, the same as its score last year. Porsche scored 888, six points higher than last year. 

“While these brands are very different, both Dodge and Porsche owners identify strongly with their vehicles,” David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “That certainly contributes to their stellar APEAL Study results.”

Ram scored 863 and GMC scored 856, according to the study. Stellantis and Ford Motor Co. also received awards for specific models, including the Jeep Wagoneer, Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Ram 1500 for Stellantis and the Bronco Sport and Super Duty for Ford. The BMW X6 was the highest-ranked individual model. 

Both the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer haven't yet been out for a year, said Kommor: "I think it just gets better as we go into the future."

Consumers were less satisfied with fuel economy and range than they were last year, the report said, due to high gas prices. But they were still happier with gas-powered cars than with battery-electric vehicles. 

That contributed to a one-point drop in overall new-vehicle satisfaction, Amodeo said: “The study was fielded as fuel prices were experiencing a meteoric rise, and that pinch at the pump is conveyed in lower vehicle satisfaction. Battery-electric vehicles have not been negatively affected by the increase in fuel costs but do have issues related to battery range and charging time.”

It's the first time customers have been less satisfied with their new vehicles since 2014, and only the fifth time their overall satisfaction has declined year-over-year in the 27 years the study has been conducted. 

The new Kia EV6 compact SUV and Mercedes-Benz EQS are the two EVs that ranked highest in the mass market and premium categories, respectively. 

The study was based on responses from more than 84,000 owners of new 2022 model year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The drivers were polled from February through May of this year, based on vehicles registered between November 2021 and February 2022. 

rbeggin@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @rbeggin