J.D. Power released the results of its 2022 U.S Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study on Thursday and found that premium brands are, on average, more favorable to consumers and that electric vehicles are still not as appealing to consumers as gas powered ones.
The study measures owners’ “emotional attachment and level of excitement” after purchasing a new vehicle and asks owners to evaluate 37 different qualities, from comfort to excitement to drive, in the survey. J.D. power aggregated these responses and assigned each vehicle brand an index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.
The survey found mass market brands decreased in emotional appeal as compared to premium brands, with the gap widening to 31 points from 19 points in 2021. The study also found that mass market brand satisfaction decreased by four points while premium brands increased 8 points from 2021.
“Dodge is a fantastic example of knowing who your customer base is, and marketing to them, getting them to buy your cars and then satisfying them,” David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D power, said. “Dodge is not for everyone…they found this niche in the market, and they’ve just targeted them and really appealed to them.”
Audi and Honda were the lowest ranked premium and mass market brands with a score of 847 and 824 respectively.
Dodge became the first domestic brand in 2020 to top Power’s APEAL and Initial Quality Study in the mass market segment in the same year. Ram, which led mass market brands in 2019 before Dodge moved to the lead spot, has ranked No. 2 for the last three years.
Jeff Kommor, the U.S. head of sales for Stellantis, said Dodge has done a good job of keeping its muscle cars relevant through the years with new colors and the ability to customize models. He pointed to the new Jailbreak option package on the 2022 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody models that unlocks ordering restrictions. The package allows owners to mix and match from a menu of features and hikes output to 807 hp thanks to a revised powertrain calibration.
Kommor said Challenger and Charger owners are “super passionate about their rides.”
The study also found that battery electric vehicles ranked lower than traditional gas powered vehicles with a score of 838 for BEVs as compared to 846 for gas powered vehicles. Tesla Motors, which received a score of 887, was not included in the BEV composite score due to concerns that “the brand’s dominance in the category would skew the results of all other BEVs.” Tesla is not rank-eligible because it does not allow J.D Power to survey owners in states where permission is required.
Satisfaction with fuel economy/range satisfaction decreased from last year amid a rise in gas prices, J.D Power said. Range/charging speed among BEV owners saw only a slight decrease in satisfaction from last year. Overall vehicle satisfaction fell one point on the 1,000 point scale, marking the first decline in eight years.
“The study was fielded as fuel prices were experiencing a meteoric rise, and that pinch at the pump is conveyed in lower vehicle satisfaction,” Amodeo said in a statement. “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.”
J.D Power also gave out awards to automakers for models that ranked highest in their respective segment. Hyundai Motor Group received the most awards with seven, followed by BMW AG, Nissan Motor Co. and Stellantis with three each.
Stellantis’ winners this year were the all-new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs, along with the Ram 1500. Jeep, with a 15-point gain, had the largest improvement of any mass market brand, moving up seven spots to eighth place.
Kommor said Stellantis fared well in the latest study because of a ongoing focus on detail, especially on interiors. Ram has upped the luxury bar for interiors in the pickup segment, for instance, and Jeep’s interiors have been revamped as well with new technology and upscale materials.
“It starts with the engineering to make sure the vehicle is actually functional, and then you’ve got [design head] Ralph Gilles, who’s so passionate about everything he touches and puts in these vehicles,” Kommor told Automotive News. “When you talk to him, you feel it in his voice and you see it in his face. He uses words like ‘buttery’ and ‘soft’ and ‘silky.’ Everything he does and everything he thinks is driving that into our interiors.”
The study surveyed 84,265 consumers from February to May 2022 after more than 90 days of ownership.