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Tesla tops J.D. Power APEAL study, Dodge ranks first for mass market brands

The APEAL study surveys new owners to study their emotional attachment and excitement when it comes to a new car. Tesla and Dodge, clearly, deliver.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
While Tesla isn't technically measured, it's also sort of the winner, too.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

While Tesla didn't do so hot in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, it tops the charts in the latest J.D. Power APEAL study.

On Wednesday, the firm released the results for the 2020 iteration of the study, now in its 25th year. The APEAL study looks at how an owner emotionally connects with their new car and measures their excitement across 37 areas and profiled over 87,000 people this time around. Things like the sense of luxury or how they feel when accelerating in the car all contribute points accumulated. Brands can score no more than 1,000 points on the scale.

For Tesla, it ranks highest among luxury brands. However, just like the Initial Quality Study, Tesla isn't technically included. The automaker will not allow J.D. Power to speak with owners in 15 out of the 50 states required to officially rank in the study. But, the organization spoke with enough owners to create results in the other 35 states to give us an idea of its ranking. Therefore, Tesla is merely a carrot at the bottom.

But, since we treated Tesla's Initial Quality Study results as semi-official when we learned of them, the brand deserves the same treatment here. On the 1,000-point scale, Tesla scores a whopping 896, which pulls ahead of the actual leader, Porsche with 881 points. The electric carmaker's score is also well above the industry average for luxury makes, which sits at 861.

2020 J.D. Power APEAL Study

Tesla is technically on top, but technically not measured, either.

2020 J.D. Power APEAL Study

Taking Tesla out of the equation leaves Porsche in first, followed by Lincoln in second place and Cadillac in third. Germany's big three, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, place fourth, seventh and in last place, respectively.

Moving into mass market brands, Dodge is number one with 872 points and J.D. Power pointed out a significant achievement for the US brand. Not only does it rank first in the APEAL study, but it topped the charts in the Initial Quality Study as well. It's the first domestic brand to accomplish both.

2020 J.D. Power APEAL Study

You go Dodge.

2020 J.D. Power APEAL Study

Behind Dodge sits another Fiat Chrylser division, Ram and GMC places third. All of them rank much higher than the industry average for mass market brands of 838 points. Somewhat strangely, Jeep places last here with 822 points. Since this study measures how a car delivers, or if owners overlook flaws simply because they're too far in love with the machine, it may signify Jeep isn't delivering with some of its models.

A quick kudos to Mazda, which jumps nine places compared to last year's results. Cadillac deserves a pat on the back, too, as it climbs six places over the 2019 study.

Three other winners walk out of this latest study. J.D. Power awards individual cars among various segments and Hyundai is the big winner here with five awards in this study. BMW comes second with four awards and Nissan places third with four awards as well.

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