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Vehicles equipped with advanced safety features and driver-assist technologies are dramatically improving their appeal among owners according to a recent study.
The results appeared in J.D. Power’s 2016 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study. The APEAL study is now in its 21st year and examines consumers’ satisfaction with their vehicles within the first 90 days of ownership. The study focuses on elements of vehicle design, content, performance and layout.
J.D. Power reviews owners’ “emotional attachment and level of excitement’’ based on 77 vehicle attributes that add up to an APEAL Index score based on a 1,000-point scale. The research firm points out that higher APEAL scores lead to greater consumer loyalty and advocacy for a vehicle.
According to J.D. Power’s findings, vehicles equipped with driver-assist features such as blind spot monitoring and low speed collision avoidance systems generate greater scores than vehicles that are not equipped with the technologies.
J.D. Power found APEAL scores were higher with the 41 percent of vehicle owners whose vehicles are equipped with blind spot monitoring compared to owners of similar vehicles that do not have this technology (821 to 787).
A similar difference was found among the 30 percent of owners of vehicles with collision avoidance systems.
“Technology-enabled safety features help drivers feel more comfortable and confident while driving their vehicles,’’ said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power, in a statement.
Stephens also described these systems as “gateway technologies’’ that could lead to the development of self-driving vehicles.
“[The] continued level of consumer interest in them will be a critical metric to watch as the industry evolves toward including more automation in new vehicles,’’ said Stephens.
The 2016 study found the overall industry average APEAL score was 801 out of 1,000, a slight uptick from 798 last year. J.D. Power found 22 out of 30 vehicles that were either all new or had been through significant redesigns scored higher than their segment average.
The report had good news for several luxury vehicle brands. Porsche was the highest-rated vehicle brand with a score of 877. BMW came in second with a score of 859, followed by Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, both tied for third with a score of 852.
At the individual award level, General Motors outperformed rivals with six vehicle segment awards. The GM winners were the Buick Cascada, Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Camaro and GMC Sierra HD.
After GM, Hyundai received the five segment-level awards. BMW and Volkswagen both collected four.