Appearance and Styling Drives Increase in New-Vehicle Appeal in Thailand, J.D. Power Finds

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Honda Receives Three APEAL Awards; Ford, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Suzuki Each Receive One

BANGKOK: 16 Dec. 2016 — The overall appeal of new vehicles in Thailand improves across all segments, according to the  J.D. Power 2016 Thailand Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study,SM released today.

Overall APEAL averages 901 points (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2016, up from 883 in 2015, with scores in all vehicle segments improving year over year. The SUV segment improves the most from 2015 (+28 points, on average), followed by the pickup truck and passenger car segments (+20 and +10 points, respectively). 

“Manufacturers have successfully managed to improve vehicle attractiveness, especially with newer or redesigned SUV and pickup models,” said Siros Satrabhaya, manager at J.D. Power. “However, while satisfaction with newer models increases in most vehicle component categories, they post notably lower scores (more than 20 points) in fuel economy this year. This may indicate a lack of transparency and possibly overpromising fuel efficiency figures under normal usage condition.” 

The Thailand government in 2016 mandated that each new vehicle in the showroom have an “eco sticker,” which shows fuel efficiency information for the vehicle. 

“The information on the sticker may be misleading since it’s based on  lab testing conditions,” said Satrabhaya. “Consumers’ expectations are being set by the data on the sticker, and only after they own the vehicle do they realize the fuel efficiency may vary in everyday use.”

The study also finds that first-time new-vehicle owners, who represent 48% of buyers, are notably less satisfied with the overall appeal of their vehicle than repeat buyers (890 vs. 910, respectively). A test drive is an effective way to increase customer satisfaction, which is considerably higher among those who take a test drive than among those who do not (903 vs. 872, respectively). The impact of a test drive on satisfaction is significantly higher among first-time buyers than among repeat buyers (+35 vs. +24 points, respectively).

Following are additional key findings of the study: 

  • Styling and Visibility Still Resonate with Vehicle Owners: The top five highest-rated vehicle attributes overall are side-profile appearance and styling; forward visibility from the driver's seat; appearance of exterior paint; usefulness of steering wheel-mounted controls and ease of seeing/ reading controls/ displays while driving. Attributes receiving the lowest ratings are seat features—specifically, the ability of seat surfaces to resist soil/ lint; ease of operating/ adjusting rear seats; and flexibility of seating configurations—and storage and audio issues, including usefulness of rear cup holders and quality of bass. 
  • Automated Assistance Features Desired: Automated features are the most sought after by new-vehicle buyers. Central locking is the feature most desired by owners, as 90% say they “definitely would” want it on their next vehicle, followed by power door mirrors (89%); power steering (88%); and electrically foldable outer rearview mirrors (87%). 
  • Style Improves Loyalty: Among customers who are highly satisfied (providing a satisfaction rating of 10 on a 10-point scale) with overall vehicle attractiveness, 84% say they “definitely would” recommend their vehicle model to others and 71% say they “definitely would” repurchase a vehicle from the same make. Among customers who are disappointed or indifferent (ratings of 1 to 7 points), only 33% say they “definitely would” recommend their vehicle and only 22% “definitely would” repurchase the same make.

Study Rankings

Honda receives three APEAL awards: the Jazz (898) in the entry midsize car segment; the Civic (908) in the midsize car segment; and the HR-V (913) in the compact SUV segment.

Suzuki receives the award in the compact car segment Ciaz (894). Toyota receives the award in the new large SUV segment for the Fortuner (908). Mitsubishi receives the award for the Triton Plus X-Cab (922) in the extended cab pickup segment. Ford receives the double cab pickup segment award for the Ranger D-Cab (923).

About the Study

Now in its 14th year, the Thailand 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. Performance in the APEAL Study is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction.

The 2016 Thailand APEAL Study is based on responses from 4,813 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from November 2015 through July 2016. The study covers 13 different brands that include 82 different passenger car, pickup truck and utility vehicle models. The study was fielded from May through September 2016.

 Media Relations Contacts

Geno Effler; Costa Mesa, Calif., USA; 714-621-6224;

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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