Another surprise was the poor performance of Toyota. Though its premium Lexus division landed in fifth place in the latest APEAL study, the flagship brand came in fifth from the bottom, two spots lower than the Japanese maker's youth-oriented Scion division.
Perhaps less unexpected was the continued dominance of well-equipped luxury vehicles over mainstream brands and products. Only a handful of nonluxury brands scored above the industry average, and none landed in the Top 10.
"Appealing vehicles are simply good news for both consumers and automakers," said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. "Even within the same vehicle segment, consumers are willing to spend substantially more on vehicles that they find attractive, provide the performance and utility they are looking for and have well-executed interiors. These vehicles also sell more quickly."
While Chevrolet, and GM on the whole, landed near the top of both the new 2013 APEAL study and last month's IQS, the latest data show that manufacturers that deliver high quality don't necessarily surprise and delight their customers. And as the quality gap continues to narrow, the significance of "things-gone-right" surveys, like APEAL continues to grow.
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That could be important for makers such as VW and GM, which have traditionally lagged Asian leaders in terms of quality, as well as Ford, which has had a series of quality setbacks over the past several years.
VW's brands have been gaining momentum in APEAL—though the chart-topping Porsche brand also led on the things-gone-wrong IQS study last month. Porsche scored 884 out of a possible 1,000 points, according to Power. And its Boxster and Cayenne models led their individual segments. Audi, which came in second, with 857 points, also had a segment winner with the newly revived allroad model.
The Volkswagen brand, scoring 809 points, itself came in slightly above the industry average of 795. But it also earned two segment firsts with the GTI and Passat models.