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October 9, 2020

GAC Motor is the Most "APEAL-ing" Chinese Brand in Latest Study

GAC Motor is the top-ranked Chinese brand in the J.D. Power 2020 China Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout or APEAL study.

The study examines new-vehicle owners’ assessments of their experiences with their new vehicles within the first two to six months of ownership, and the data is used extensively by manufacturers to help them design and develop more appealing models.

Study measures owners’ emotional attachment to and level of excitement with their new vehicle across 37 attributes in 10 vehicle experience groups: exterior; setting up and starting; getting in and out; interior; performance; driving feel; keeping your safe; infotainment; driving comfort; and fuel economy.

The study is based on responses from 32,046 owners who purchased their new vehicle between June 2019 and June 2020. The study includes 241 models from 57 different brands and was fielded from December 2019 through August 2020 in 70 major cities across China.

While Porsche and Buick are the top-ranked premium and mass market brands respectively, GAC had a very strong showing as the highest ranked Chinese brand in 7th place. Moreover, its joint-ventures ranked highly with GAC FCA Jeep in 4th and GAC Honda in 5th.

In terms of segment, some highlights include the Kia Pegas (Philippine market Soluto) as the highest ranked compact and Geely Binrui as the highest ranked midsized sedan. Volkswagen models such as the Santana performed well too as the runner-up in the Midsize Basic category, and the Lamando as the second runner-up in the Midsize Upper Economy model (see full list below).

Despite GAC’s strong showing, J.D. Power admits that among redesigned and newly-designed models, which account for 16 percent of all models surveyed this year, owners’ appeal satisfaction is 732 points (on a 1,000-point scale), the same as owners’ satisfaction with carry-over models. In fact, new models only perform better in one aspect: fuel economy.

J.D. Power says it’s a call to Chinese automakers to start differentiating themselves. New car owners don’t show the same level of emotional attachment to their new vehicles anymore mainly because new cars tend to feel homogeneous in terms of materials, features, and appearances.

One aspect where Chinese brands could improve is the installation rate of safety and/or driver assistance technologies. For example, adaptive cruise control is now installed in 77 percent of vehicles, compared to just 17 percent in China. The installation rate of lane-keeping assist in the U.S. is five times that of China.

Having said that, younger vehicle owners more satisfied with newer models: vehicle owners born in the 1990s are more satisfied with their experience with new models than with carry-over models, while owners born before 1990 take the opposite view. Using intelligent devices to operate the vehicle remotely and built-in navigation system are two features that illustrate this: owners born in the 1990s are more satisfied with these features in new models than in carry-over models, while satisfaction with these features among owners born before 1990 is higher for carry-over models than new models.

J.D. Power 2020 APEAL Study Top Three Models Per Segment:
  • Compact: Kia Pegas (Philippine market Soluto)
  • Compact Upper: Honda Fit, Toyota Vios, Kia KX Cross & Volkswagen Polo (tie)
  • Midsize Basic: Honda City Fengfan, Volkswagen Santana, Geely Vision
  • Midsize: Geely Binrui, Nissan Tiida, Nissan Sylphy
  • Midsize Upper Economy: Buick Verano, Hyundai Mistra, Volkswagen Lamando
  • Midsize Upper: Volkswagen CC, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Teana
  • Compact Luxury: Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A5 & Jaguar XEL (tie)
  • Midsize Luxury: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6L
  • Small SUV: Changan CS35, GAC GS3, Geely Vision X3
  • Compact SUV: Nissan Qashqai, Toyota IZOA, Nissan Kicks
  • Midsize SUV: Buick Envision, Haval H6 Coupe, Dongfeng Fengshen AX7 & GAC GS5 (tie)
  • Large SUV: Honda Avancier, Nissan Murano, Volkswagen Teramont
  • Compact Luxury SUV: Infiniti QX50, Lexus NX, BMW X1
  • Midsize Luxury SUV: Porsche Macan, BMW X3, Cadillac XT5
  • Large Luxury SUV: Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, BMW X5
  • Compact MPV: Baojun RM-5, Baojun 360, Baojun 730
  • Midsize MPV: GAC GM6, Geely Jiaji
  • Large MPV: Buick GL8

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