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Chrysler Brands Lead Industry Gains in J.D. Power Appeal Study

Chrysler Group LLC led industrywide gains in a J.D. Power & Associates study of owner satisfaction with new models that may boost automakers’ prospects for luring U.S. consumers who have put off new-vehicle purchases.

Chrysler, revamping its lineup under majority owner Fiat SpA, improved its scores for all brands that were in the survey a year earlier, Westlake Village, California-based J.D. Power said in a statement. Dodge notched a 21-point increase for the biggest gain among all brands. The Chrysler and Ram nameplates jumped above the industry average, which rose to 788 points from 781 a year earlier.

J.D. Power’s U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study, known as Apeal, surveys buyers of new vehicles after the first 90 days of ownership on attributes such as styling and mobile-phone connectivity. The study has particular significance given that the average age of vehicles traded in is near a historical high at about six years, J.D. Power said.

“If you can come to market with exciting new products, you’re more likely to persuade people that now’s the right time to trade,” David Sargent, J.D. Power’s vice president for global vehicle research, said in a telephone interview.

Porsche AG’s namesake brand, Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW finished in the top three spots for a third consecutive year in the study, which tends to favor luxury nameplates, Sargent said. Volkswagen AG’s premium Audi brand boosted its score by 13 points to finish fourth at 848, and its namesake Volkswagen improved 14 to 812.

GM Improves

General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet led the industry with three models that finished best in their respective segments with the Chevrolet Volt compact, Avalanche large pickup and Sonic subcompact car, according to J.D. Power. The Cadillac, Buick and GMC brands also joined Chevrolet in improving their scores from a year earlier.

Ford Motor Co.’s namesake brand scored six points better than a year earlier, while its Lincoln brand lost five points. Both brands scored above the industry average.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Scion lost the most points among the study’s 34 brands, dropping by 18 to 764. The company’s main brand gained 17 points to a below-average 780, while luxury brand Lexus improved by six points to 833.

Models that perform well in the study sell faster off dealer lots, make more money for dealers and automakers, and are more likely to be recommended to other shoppers by their owners, Sargent said. Buyers who give their vehicles better scores also are more likely to purchase the same brand again, he said.

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