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Power APEAL Survey Puts New Models on Top

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Credit: The Car Connection daily edition Power APEAL Survey Puts New Models on Top The latest APEAL Study - for Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout - from J.D Power and Associates has been released. And in the tenth year of the survey, Power reports that new models are increasingly delightful to shoppers. The APEAL survey finds that 50 new or redesigned models were included in this year's survey, up from 43 last year. In all models, styling continues to be a big factor in wooing fans-but increasingly, interior features are playing a role in purchase decisions. "As more and more new designs hit the market, manufacturers are finding it increasingly difficult to make their new models stand out," said Chance Parker, executive director of product and research analysis at J.D. Power and Associates. "While vehicle styling is still vital in setting a model apart from the pack, consumers are increasingly attracted to vehicles that offer innovative storage options and other features that make the driving experience more comfortable and convenient." APEAL rankings are important for automakers, since a good rating from customers on styling and features can mean a vehicle lingers less on dealer lots. Power says the APEAL winner in compact trucks, the Honda Ridgeline, stays on dealer lots for an average of 24 days, versus 77 days for an average compact truck. "Vehicles with high APEAL scores are less likely to require major incentive programs to attract buyers and to move them from dealer lots, which typically yield higher profits for the manufacturer and dealer," said Parker. Segment winners include many brand-new vehicles for 2006, including the Ridgeline and the new Lexus GS. Among brands, CNN/Money reports that the top nameplates were Porsche, with a score of 908 out of 1000; Land Rover, 906; Lexus, 905; and Jaguar, 902. GM's HUMMER and Cadillac divisions, at 897 and 896, were the top-ranked domestic brands; Saturn placed last at 827, a notch below Suzuki (828) and Subaru (830) and Jeep, which scored 833. Segment winners (Source: CNN/Money) Compact car: MINI Cooper Entry midsize car: Pontiac G6 Premium midsize car: Kia Amanti Full-size car: Toyota Avalon Entry Luxury car: Lexus IS300/IS300 SportCross/Mercedes-Benz C-class Mid luxury car: Lexus GS300/GS430 (2006) Premium luxury car: Lexus LS430 Sporty car: Ford Mustang Premium sports car: Chevrolet Corvette Midsize pick-up: Honda Ridgeline (2006) Light-duty full-size pick-up: Cadillac Escalade EXT Heavy-duty full-size pick-up: GMC Sierra HD Entry SUV: Kia Sportage Mid-size SUV: Nissan Murano Full-size SUV: Nissan Armada Entry luxury SUV: Lexus RX400h (2006) Premium luxury SUV: Land Rover Range Rover Midsize van: Honda Odyssey Full-size van: Chevrolet Express WTF. Ridgline, most appealing compact truck? ...speechless.

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I'm not surprised that the Ridgeline is tops in this survey because this is really about content and features and not really attractiveness. Styling is subjective. After all, the Aztek was tops in 2001.

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