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September 18, 2020

Mazda Has Highest Appeal, Loyalty with Owners in Japan

In the ultra-competitive Japanese Domestic Market, Mazda has been ranked as the highest mainstream brand when it comes to overall vehicle appeal as well as brand loyalty among its owners. This was revealed as J.D. Power outed the results of their Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study for 2020.

The APEAL study examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive. Owners evaluate their new vehicle across 77 attributes, grouped into 10 categories of vehicle performance: exterior; interior; storage and space; audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); driving dynamics (driving performance); engine/transmission; visibility and safety; and fuel economy. These attributes are aggregated to calculate an overall APEAL index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Surveying 19,435 actual purchasers of new vehicles in the first two to nine months of ownership, J.D. Power Japan noted that new vehicle quality has continuously improved during the past six years, and thus, has increased brand loyalty in general.

This year marks the highest satisfaction among new car owners since 2014. In fact, the industry average APEAL store has jumped 12 points compared to last year.

In addition, brand loyalty also increased by 14 percentage points since 2014, with 82 percent indicating that they “definitely will” or “probably will” purchase the same brand again. This is compared to just 68 percent wo said the same in 2014.

Among mainstream (non-premium) brands, Mazda ranked the highest followed by Subaru and Toyota. Overall though, luxury brands dominated the study highlighting the large cap in APEAL scores. BMW ranked the highest followed by Lexus, Volvo, MINI, and Audi.

In terms of engine choice, electrified powertrains are gaining traction over their traditional counterparts. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) scored the highest, surpassing diesel-fueled cars in terms of overall satisfaction for the first time while full electric vehicles has shown steady improvement with their APEAL score up 85 points.

Despite the good news, J.D. Power notes that as carmakers continually improve their quality, it will become more difficult for them to differentiate themselves from their competitors in terms of vehicle appeal. With a growing diversity of features and functions available, auto manufacturers will need to work harder to provide more appealing vehicles by identifying functions that existing and targeted customers demand in a new vehicle said J.D. Power.

Here’s How They Ranked:

Top Models Per Segment:

Mini Car
  • TIE: Daihatsu MOVE canbus
  • TIE: Honda N-Box
  • Suzuki Lapin
  • Daihatsu Tanto
Compact Car
  • Honda Fit
  • Daihatsu Rocky
  • Toyota Yaris
Midsized Car
  • Lexus UX
  • MINI
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Toyota Alphard
  • Toyota Vellfire
  • Honda Odyssey

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