Ford Shines in the 2023 J.D. Power APEAL Study

Ford Bronco Sport

The 2023 J.D. Power APEAL Study results are in, and they have brought some positive news for Ford. The American automaker has reason to celebrate as it managed to rank above the mass market average. Notably, several Ford models showcased their excellence in their respective categories. However, while Ford thrives, the overall market experienced a concerning consecutive decline in owner satisfaction, indicating potential underlying issues. Let’s take a closer look at the key findings of the study and what they mean for the automotive industry. 

2024 Ford Bronco Sport
2024 Ford Bronco Sport

Ford's Triumph in the APEAL Study

Ford’s performance in the 2023 APEAL Study has been nothing short of impressive. The Ford Bronco Sport garnered notable recognition, for second place in the small SUV/crossover segment. This achievement reflect Ford’s commitment to delivering vehicles that resonate with consumers on an emotional level. 

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-e
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-e

But the celebration didn’t end there for Ford. The Ford Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric compact SUV, also found its place among the best in its category. Meanwhile, the Ford Maverick, fresh off a top-three ranking last year, continued to impress by taking a spot in the “mid-size pickup” category. Although it finished third, it faced stiff competition from the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Nissan Frontier, proving Ford’s strength in diverse segments. 

2023 Ford Maverick
2023 Ford Maverick

APEAL Study Market Dissatisfaction

While Ford celebrates its accomplishments, the automotive industry at large faces a concerning trend in the APEAL Study. For the first time in the study’s 28-year history, the overall market experienced consecutive year-over-year declines in owner satisfaction. Last year saw a two-point drop, and this year, it declined further by three points. These figures serve as a warning sign for manufacturers to address the deeper issues that lie beneath the surface. 

Understanding Owner Satisfaction

The APEAL Study’s methodology involves measuring owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicles. Survey participants, comprising 84,555 owners of new 2023 model-year vehicles, were asked to evaluate 37 different attributes after 90 days of ownership. This in-depth approach aims to capture the essence of the customer experience beyond mere performance or quality ratings. 

Unearthing the Root Causes

Frank Hanley, J.D. Power’s senior director of auto benchmarking, highlights that despite the technology and design innovations automakers invest in new vehicles, owners remain lukewarm about them. Features like charging pads, vehicle apps, and advanced audio systems should enhance the ownership experience, but this isn’t always the case when problems are encountered. The decline in satisfaction signifies a need for manufacturers to gain a deeper understanding of what customers truly desire in their new vehicles. 

Ford’s performance in the 2023 J.D. Power APEAL Study brings a sense of pride and accomplishment for the automaker. Ranking above the mass market average and excelling in various categories underscores Ford’s commitment to customer satisfaction. However, the study also reveals the broader automotive market’s decline in owner satisfaction, pointing to potential underlying issues that need to be addressed. As manufacturers continue to innovate and push boundaries, understanding customer preferences and desires remains paramount to deliver truly exceptional vehicles that captivate the hearts of consumers. 



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