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New-Vehicle Models Lack Luster According to Owners in 2015 APEAL Study

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Toyota Receives Four J.D. Power APEAL Awards; Mazda and Nissan Each Receive One

BANGKOK: 18 December 2015 — Although satisfaction with new passenger vehicles among buyers generally remains high, overall APEAL has declined substantially from 2014, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Thailand Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM released today. 

Now in its 13th year, the APEAL Study is an owner-reported measure of what satisfies owners in Thailand about their new vehicle’s performance and design during the first two to six months of ownership. The study examines nearly 100 attributes in 10 vehicle categories: exterior; interior; storage and space; audio/ entertainment/ navigation; seats; HVAC; driving dynamics; engine/ transmission; visibility and driving safety; and fuel economy. APEAL study performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction. 

Overall APEAL averages 883 in 2015, down from 905 in 2014, with scores in all vehicle component categories declining year over year. 

“To retain or improve appeal year to year, manufacturers should continuously look for ways to differentiate new models from earlier ones. Currently, new models lack punch,” said Siros Satrabhaya, branch manager at J.D. Power. Manufacturers can satisfy customers by incorporating functional and aesthetic changes that align with their expectations, especially around such in-cabin features as audio/ entertainment/ navigation and seats.” 

The proportion of respondents who purchased a model that was either entirely redesigned or a brand-new launch is 19% in 2015, down from 20% in 2014. Satisfaction among these new-vehicle owners averages 888, while satisfaction among owners of vehicles with no changes or only a facelift satisfaction averages 882. 

Overall APEAL declines in all vehicle segments in 2015, with the largest year-over-year decline in the full-size SUV segment (-37 points), which falls below industry average. Conversely, the lowest year-over-year decline in APEAL scores is in the pickup segments, which represent more than 40% market share of light new-vehicle sales in Thailand since 2003. Notably, the pickup double cab (889) and extended cab (888) segments, together with the highest-performing premium midsize care segment (896), are the only three segments performing above industry average. 

Following are some of the key findings in this year’s study. 

  • Two In-Cabin Features Particularly Lack APEAL: Satisfaction with Audio/ entertainment/ navigation (860) and seats (868) is lowest among all ten vehicle component categories overall. The largest year-over-year decline is with seats (-30 points).
  • Styling, Visibility, and Ride Resonate with Vehicle Owners, but Issues with Function Are a Pain Point: Front-end styling, forward visibility from the driver's seat and ride smoothness in normal driving rank among the top five highest rated vehicle attributes across all three super-segments (passenger car, utility vehicle, pickup). Conversely, ease of operating/ adjusting rear seats and ability of navigation system to provide desirable route are among the bottom five rated vehicle attributes across super-segments.
  • Style Matters and Leads to Loyalty: Among customers who are highly satisfied (provide a satisfaction rating of 10 on a 10-point scale) with overall vehicle attractiveness, 79% say they “definitely would” recommend their vehicle model. Among customers who are less satisfied with vehicle attractiveness (ratings of 8 or 9 points), intent to recommend declines to 69% and drops to 37% among those who are disappointed or indifferent (ratings of 1 to 7 points). 

2015 Thailand APEAL Study Rankings 

Toyota models perform at or above segment average in overall APEAL across all six award segments. Toyota receives four APEAL awards: the Yaris (884) in the compact car segment for a second consecutive year and the Fortuner (896) in the full-size SUV segment for a fourth consecutive year, the Vios (883) in the entry midsize car segment and the new a Hilux Revo Prerunner D-Cab (909) in the double cab pickup segment. 

Mazda receives the midsize car segment award for the Mazda3 (888), which is the second consecutive year it has received the award for this model in this segment. 

Nissan receives the extended cab pickup segment award with the new Nissan Frontier NP300 Navara Calibre X-Cab (900). 

The 2015 Thailand APEAL Study is based on evaluations from 4,837 owners who purchased their new vehicle between October 2014 and July 2015. The study covers 12 different brands that include 89 different passenger car, pickup truck and utility vehicle models. The study was fielded between April and September 2015. 

Media Relations Contacts

Xingti Liu; J.D. Power; Singapore; 65-6733 8980;
John Tews; J.D. Power; Troy, Michigan, USA; 001-248-680-6218; 

About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region

J.D. Power has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the Internet at  

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