The demand for cars this year has been exceptional. This could be due to the lack of demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. For several weeks, or in some places, people could not go to dealers. Meanwhile, the incomes of many middle-class and upper-class Americans actually rose over the same period. Despite the brief recession, most of these people hired and the stock market rose and house prices increased their wealth.
However, at that time the supply of the car fell. The overwhelming shortage of semiconductor chips used in auto electronics systems is almost exclusively the cause of this decline. As car inventory dwindled, prices went up.
Yet another change is that more people now shop for cars online. According to a study, almost 90% of Americans research the Internet before buying a car. Internet access in car shopping has evolved even further. In 2020 a full 30% of car buyers completed their purchase transactions online. ABC News reports that before the pandemic, less than 2% of vehicles were purchased digitally.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the extent to which car buyers seek out experts to rate cars. Cars & Drivers, Motor Trend and other media have been rating cars for consumers for decades. Research firms such as Edmonds and Kelley Blue Book provide similar services. The gold standard for these ratings is J.D. Power, which releases the results of several large studies per year.
The J.D. Power 2021 US Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (Appeals) Study was released Wednesday. The results are based on a survey of 110,827 owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. The study was conducted from February to July 2021. This is the 26th year that this specific research report has been released.
The researchers defined the methodology as measured by “the owners’ level of emotional attachment and enthusiasm with their new vehicle.” In the appeal study, owners were asked to consider 37 characteristics, which range from the feeling of comfort when climbing into the driver’s seat to the pleasure they get when they step on the accelerator.
The total number of points a car brand can get is 1,000. Vehicles were divided into two groups: premium and mass market. The average score among the premium models was 864. In mass market cars, the comparable figure was 845.
Two car brands ranked first. Among premium cars, Porsche had a rating of 882. Mass-market vehicles had similar ratings to Dodge.
The two brands couldn’t be more different. Porsche is one of the most expensive cars sold in America. Some models cost around $200,000 with accessories. Porsche makes high-end SUVs—the Macan and Cayenne, a high-end sedan, the Panamera, and the 718 and 911 coupes. It is part of a larger stable of brands owned by Volkswagen.
Dodge is primarily a muscle car brand. It has three models, the Challenger, Durango and Charger, with the base Challenger model selling for $29,065. It makes cars with horsepower ratings up to 797.
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