J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Honda Models Capture Most Awards in 2007 APEAL Study

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Honda captures four model segment awards — more than any other vehicle nameplate this year — according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study(SM) released today.

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The study, now in its 12th year, measures owner delight with the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles. APEAL is designed to complement the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study(SM) (IQS), which focuses on problems experienced by owners during the first 90 days of ownership. APEAL measures how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive.

Honda’s four segment-leading models are the Fit (in a tie), CR-V, Ridgeline and Odyssey. BMW and Mercedes-Benz receive three segment awards, while Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen each garner two awards. BMW models receiving awards include the 3 Series, 6 Series and X5, while Mercedes-Benz earns awards for the E-Class, S-Class and GL-Class. Ford models earning awards are the Mustang and Edge. Volkswagen receives awards for the Jetta and GTI, while Nissan earns awards for the Altima Sedan and Armada.

The study also finds that, for models with higher APEAL scores, vehicle manufacturers and dealers can offer lower incentives to new-vehicle buyers. On average, owners of vehicles with APEAL scores lower than 800, based on a 1,000-point scale, report receiving dealer incentives of approximately $2,000. For purchasers of models with average APEAL scores higher than 800, the incentive amount can decline by up to 10 percent.

“Vehicle models with strong customer appeal tend to be in higher demand, which diminishes the need for dealers to incentivize to boost sales,” said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis at J.D. Power and Associates. “Offering larger incentives decreases the profitability of vehicles, so it’s important for manufacturers to incorporate those ‘must-have’ features and design elements that will entice buyers, which also reduces the need for large customer cash rebates.”

A number of all-new and redesigned models lead the model rankings for 2007. Ten of the top-ranking models in the APEAL study — the BMW X5, Cadillac Escalade EXT (in a tie), Ford Edge, GMC Sierra LD, Honda Fit, Honda CR-V, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (in a tie), Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Nissan Altima Sedan and Toyota Yaris (in a tie) — were all-new or redesigned this year. Also receiving awards are the Hyundai Azera and Porsche Cayman.

“Whether due to fresh designs or innovative features, APEAL scores tend to be highest for models when they are first introduced,” said Oddes. “It’s essential for manufacturers to get new-vehicle launches right, since vehicles with high appeal scores generally command a higher gross profit and sell more quickly. Two of the redesigned models — the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (in a tie) and Honda CR-V — also earned awards in the 2007 Initial Quality Study, and are examples of how manufacturers can learn from preceding models to improve in both initial quality and appeal.”

The Nissan Armada ranks highest in its segment for a fourth consecutive year. Several models, including the Ford Mustang, Honda Ridgeline and Honda Odyssey rank highest in their respective segments for a third consecutive year, while the Porsche Cayman and Hyundai Azera earn awards for a second consecutive year. The Mustang and Mercedes-Benz E-Class also rank highest in their segments in both the APEAL study and IQS.

Porsche is the highest-ranking nameplate in APEAL for a third consecutive year. The most improved nameplate in the 2007 study is Scion.

The 2007 APEAL Study is based on responses gathered between February and May 2007 from more than 91,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2007 model-year cars and trucks who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership.

Find more detailed findings on new-vehicle APEAL performance as well as model photos and specs by watching a video, reading an article and reviewing appeal ratings at JDPower.com.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The firm’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2006 were $6.3 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:John TewsSyvetril PerrymanTroy, Mich.Westlake Village, Calif.(248) 312-4119(805) 418-8103john.tews@jdpa.comsyvetril.perryman@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. http://www.jdpower.com/corporate

2007 Nameplate APEAL Ranking(Based on a 1,000-point scale)Porsche849BMW847Mercedes-Benz844Jaguar841Lexus836Audi829Infiniti823Cadillac818Land Rover816Acura815Lincoln810Scion809Volkswagen800Volvo792Saab784Mazda777Honda776Nissan776HUMMER773Industry Average772Mitsubishi770GMC768Hyundai766Chevrolet763Pontiac762Toyota761Saturn757Ford754Buick750Mercury743Kia742Chrysler740Suzuki738Dodge737Subaru724Jeep718NOTE: Not included due to small sample size are: Isuzu and MINI.Top Three Models per SegmentCar SegmentsSub-Compact CarHighest Ranked: Honda Fit (Tie), Toyota Yaris (Tie)Nissan VersaCompact CarHighest Ranked: Volkswagen JettaVolkswagen RabbitHonda CivicCompact Sporty CarHighest Ranked: Volkswagen GTIScion tCVolkswagen EosCompact Premium Sporty CarHighest Ranked: Porsche CaymanPorsche BoxsterMercedes-Benz CLK-ClassEntry Premium CarHighest Ranked: BMW 3 SeriesLexus IS 250/IS 350Acura TL (Tie)Audi A4 (Tie)Midsize Premium CarHighest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz E-ClassLexus GS 350/GS 430/GS 450hBMW 5 SeriesLarge Premium CarHighest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz S-ClassBMW 7 SeriesLexus LS 460Premium Sporty CarHighest Ranked: BMW 6 SeriesMercedes-Benz SL-ClassChevrolet CorvetteMidsize Sporty CarHighest Ranked: Ford MustangMitsubishi EclipseChevrolet Monte CarloMidsize CarHighest Ranked: Nissan Altima SedanVolkswagen PassatSaturn AURALarge CarHighest Ranked: Hyundai AzeraToyota AvalonDodge ChargerTruck / Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV) SegmentsCompact MAVHighest Ranked: Honda CR-VMazda CX-7Toyota FJ CruiserMidsize MAVHighest Ranked: Ford EdgeSaturn OutlookGMC AcadiaLarge MAVHighest Ranked: Nissan ArmadaChevrolet TahoeChevrolet SuburbanMidsize Premium MAVHighest Ranked: BMW X5Audi Q7 (Tie)Mercedes-Benz M-Class (Tie)Large Premium MAVHighest Ranked: Cadillac Escalade EXT (Tie), Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (Tie)Lincoln NavigatorLarge PickupHighest Ranked: GMC Sierra LDChevrolet AvalancheChevrolet Silverado LDMidsize PickupHighest Ranked: Honda RidgelineFord Explorer Sport TracToyota TacomaVanHighest Ranked: Honda OdysseyKia SedonaHyundai EntourageNOTE: Models with multiple trim levels are combined for ranking purposes.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Neal Oddes http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=58144

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J.D. Power and Associates

CONTACT: John Tews, Troy, Mich., +1-248-312-4119, john.tews@jdpa.com, orSyvetril Perryman, Westlake Village, Calif., +1-805-418-8103,syvetril.perryman@jdpa.com, both of J.D. Power and Associates

Web site: http://www.jdpower.com/http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/