Auto Service World
News   August 18, 2023   by Adam Malik

New car design, performance leave owners unimpressed

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For the first time, there is a consecutive year-over-year decline in new vehicle owner satisfaction.

The J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study average score came in at 845 points on a 1,000-point scale. That’s a drop of two points from last year and three points from the year before.

“The decline in consecutive years might look small, but it’s an indicator that larger issues may lie under the surface,” said Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power. “Despite the technology and design innovations that manufacturers put into new vehicles, owners are lukewarm about them. While innovations like charging pads, vehicle apps and advanced audio features should enhance an owner’s experience, this is not the case when problems are experienced. This downward trajectory of satisfaction should be a warning sign to manufacturers that they need to better understand what owners really want in their new vehicles.”

Ten factors make up the study. Nine saw a year-over-year decline with the only improvement coming in fuel economy — its score of 771 is a 15-point improvement.

The biggest decline is exterior, dropping to 888 from 894. Satisfaction with exterior styling on new models in 2023 is particularly unremarkable, scoring only three points above carryover models.

J.D. Power noted that “built-in infotainment systems are a prime example of a technology not resonating with today’s buyers.”

It reported that only 56 per cent of owners prefer to use their vehicle’s built-in system to play audio, which is down from 70% in 2020.