Every year, the data analytics and consumer intelligence company J.D. Power conducts a study to determine the car brands that are the most appealing to consumers. To conduct the 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, J.D. Power analyzed responses from nearly 90,000 owners of new 2020 model year vehicles in the U.S.
The study is designed to measure how owners feel about their new vehicle using 37 different attributes. For example, owners were asked to evaluate the feeling they got when accelerating in their new vehicle and the sense of luxury they felt while behind the wheel.
These scores were then added together to calculate a total APEAL index score that could range from 1 to 1000. The results of this study revealed that these automotive brands had the highest scores, which makes them the top 10 most loved car brands in 2020:
With 842 points, Hyundai came in at #10 on the list of the most loved car brands of 2020. This includes multiple brands under the Hyundai parent company, including Kia and Genesis.
Hyundai may not have topped this list, but as a parent company, it did receive more awards than any other automotive manufacturer. This year, APEAL Awards were given to the Genesis G70, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Stinger, and Kia Telluride.
Soichiro Honda founded Honda in 1949, and over 70 years later, it is still one of the most popular car brands in the United States.
There are a number of reasons why consumers love Honda vehicles. The manufacturer has a reputation for producing high-quality, reliable vehicles, which is a quality that consumers will always appreciate.
But reliability by itself isn’t enough to secure a spot on this list. Honda edged out the competition by upgrading its design with more sophisticated technology and higher-end materials.
This might not be the only year that Honda lands a coveted spot on this list. Another study found that Honda has some of the most loyal consumers of all manufacturers in the automotive industry.
With 844 points, Nissan tied with two other automotive manufacturers for the #8 spot on this list. This may come as a surprise to automotive industry insiders since the company has seen a decline in sales over the last several years.
Similar to Hyundai, Nissan won a number of awards for the brands under its parent company, including the Nissan Armada, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Sentra, and Nissan Versa.
Nissan earned a respectable position on the list for this year, but it may climb even higher in the years to come. This is because the manufacturer has announced plans to update the designs of many of their models over the next few years. If consumers respond well to these updates, the automotive manufacturer could soar to the top of next year’s list.
Mazda’s three-way tie for 8th on this list may seem like a modest accomplishment, but it’s no small feat for this automotive manufacturer. Last year, Mazda was ranked nine spots lower on the list.
But this year, consumers responded more positively to 2020 Mazdas, especially the Mazda 3, Mazda 5, and Mazda Miata. J.D. Power isn’t the only company that noticed the shift in consumers’ perception of this automotive brand. The U.S. News & World Report named Mazda the Best Car Brand for 2020.
Mazda’s higher APEAL score could be attributed to its high safety score, which is a quality that consumers always look for when purchasing a new vehicle. But the updated interior design, which now includes an upgraded infotainment system, could also have lifted Mazda’s scores this year.
The final automotive manufacturer in the three-way tie for 8th place is Kia. Two Kia models, the Stinger and Telluride, helped its parent company, Hyundai, win a number of APEAL awards this year. But even though Kia falls under the Hyundai parent company, this automotive manufacturer has strong enough scores to rank on this list on its own.
This year, consumers responded well to a number of different Kia models, including the Cadenza and Forte. Both of these Kia models are designed with stylish exteriors and luxurious interiors complete with UVO infotainment systems. Kia also offers one of the most consumer-friendly warranties in the automotive industry, which could be another reason why it ranked so high on this list.
Kia may be tied for 8th place on this list, but it actually placed first in the Initial Quality Study, which is also conducted by J.D. Power. These scores indicate that Kia could continue to climb higher in the years ahead.
Scoring an impressive 846 points, Mini secured the #5 spot on this list of the car brands that consumers love the most. As its name suggests, this manufacturer initially offered consumers a smaller, luxurious vehicle with a unique look. But now, Mini models are not so mini anymore.
The larger size may not make sense given the manufacturer’s name, but it does seem to be a hit with consumers, who appreciate the additional space offered in the newer models. Mini vehicles are also known for their reliability, speed, and stylish designs. These vehicles may have higher price points than others on the list, but this doesn’t seem to bother consumers, who may be willing to pay more in order to experience these unparalleled vehicles.
Perhaps the most recognizable name on this list, Ford ranked #4 on the top 10 most loved car brands of 2020. Some industry experts may be surprised that Ford is not higher on this list, especially because the Ford F-150 consistently ranks as the most popular pick-up truck in the country.
Ford may produce the most popular trucks on the market, but it also manufactures other types of vehicles. For example, the Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. The Mustang has been around for decades, but it continues to rank high on the list of the best sports cars year after year.
The Ford Escape, a sports utility vehicle (SUV), is another popular vehicle produced by this manufacturer. In fact, the Escape even earned an APEAL award this year.
Other Ford vehicles, including the mid-size Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, have not been as well-received by consumers. This could explain why Ford was unable to land the top spot on this list despite its successful line of pick-up trucks and SUVs.
General Motors Company, or GMC, was ranked #3 by consumers who responded to the J.D. Power 2020 APEAL study.
A number of the GMC parent company’s vehicles won awards in this study, including the Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Blazer, and GMC Sierra HD. These are some of the many GMC vehicles that appealed to a vast number of consumers this year.
GMC may have ranked near the top on this list, but it did not fare so well in another J.D. Power study. It ranked #8 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which measures the number of problems that owners of new vehicles experience within the 90 days of ownership. Perhaps addressing these issues and improving the overall perceived quality of GMC vehicles could help GMC secure the top spot next year.
The runner up on this year’s list is Ram, which scored 871 points in the 2020 APEAL study. Ram scored well in the Initial Quality Study as well, landing the #3 spot on that list.
Unlike other manufacturers on the list, Ram solely produces trucks and vans. Despite their limited product line, consumers responded incredibly well to Ram vehicles, showing a deep emotional attachment with their newly purchased 2020 models.
Scores were high for Ram vehicles across the board, but one model that scored high enough to earn an APEAL award was the Ram 1500, which is a full-sized pick-up truck with a luxurious interior.
Ram’s high ranking may not come as a surprise to many since the company reported the highest sales growth among all automotive manufacturers in the first half of 2019. Studies have shown that Ram consumers are also very loyal. More than half of previous Ram owners who purchased a new vehicle in the last year chose to buy another Ram. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that most consumers are currently more than satisfied with their Ram vehicles.
Dodge scored 872 points, which is enough to secure the top spot on the list of the 2020 car brands that consumers love the most. This isn’t the only top spot that Dodge secured this year—it was also the top-ranked manufacturer in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study. This makes Dodge the first domestic automotive manufacturer to secure the top spots in the mass market segments in both lists during the same year.
Many Dodge vehicles received positive ratings from consumers this year, but the Dodge Challenger, a muscle car, scored high enough to earn a model-level APEAL award. This vehicle is consistently ranked one of the top sports cars on the market due to its spacious, luxurious interior and powerful V8 engine options, some of which top out over 700 horsepower.
Dodge’s reliability, safety, upgraded designs, and speed have helped the manufacturer beat out its competitors and win the top spot on this year’s list.
Automotive manufacturers from around the world rely on the results of this study to help them make better business decisions and design vehicles that are more appealing to the modern consumer. For this reason, it is safe to say that these results could impact the way that new models of vehicles are designed and marketed to consumers in the year ahead.