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AutoPacific Announces 2016 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

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TUSTIN, Calif. (June 8, 2016) – AutoPacific today announced its 20th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs), identifying the most satisfying vehicles in the market. An industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new vehicle, VSAs are based on survey responses from over 65,000 owners of new 2015 and 2016 model year cars and light trucks.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of AutoPacific recognizing the most satisfying vehicles and providing consumers a way to streamline their search for the perfect vehicle,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards objectively measure owner satisfaction with 50 separate attributes ranging from interior comfort and styling to fuel economy and performance. “VSAs look at the big picture, which includes owners’ experiences with their vehicle’s quality and safety, but also goes deeper into the heart of the ownership experience.”

A Year of Shake Ups

After years of American brands taking the top spot for most satisfying popular, non-luxury, brand, Korean manufacturer Kia has taken over. “Kia has been coming on strong for years and has won many individual vehicle awards,” says Peterson, “but this year they dominated among popular, non-luxury, brands, with a total brand score that is 16 points higher than the nearest competitor, GMC.”

Tesla is the most satisfying premium brand for the second year in a row. “Tesla was new to the survey results in 2015 and won the top premium brand award by a considerable margin (23 points). They hold the top spot this year, though Cadillac has closed the gap considerably with the highly satisfying Escalade and increases in owner satisfaction across their lineup,” explains Peterson.

This year also marks the first year that neither Ford Motor Company nor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a winning vehicle. “Over the years, Ford has consistently had high-scoring trucks and SUVs while Lincoln has had several luxury car winners,” says Peterson. “Historically, FCA has not been as strong; however, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was on a 5 year winning streak and had that taken away by the Toyota 4Runner this year.”

Overall for 2016, General Motors receives the most wins with 7, followed by Kia and Nissan each with 4, Mercedes-Benz with 3, and Hyundai and Toyota each with 2 wins. Volvo, Honda and Tesla each take home 1 win.

In a market where vehicles continue to raise the bar for owner satisfaction, AutoPacific recognizes another President’s Award winner this year: the 2016 Cadillac Escalade. This award is given only when the overall score tops the previous high score. The previous President’s Award winners were the 2015 Kia K900, 2014 Mercedes S-Class and the 2010 Hyundai Sonata.

Six All-New or Redesigned Vehicles Top Their Segment

Of the twenty-three winning vehicles, six of them had been redesigned for the 2016 model year, including the Kia Optima, Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Camaro, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lexus RX, and Hyundai Tucson. “Product planners hold their breath after the release of a new, or redesigned, vehicle, hoping that all their research, designing and planning has successful results,” says Peterson who worked as a product planner prior to founding AutoPacific thirty years ago. “While six of the winning vehicles were redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Kia Optima and Chevrolet Camaro have greatly exceeded the scores of their nearest segment competitors.”

2016 VEHICLE SATISFACTION AWARD WINNERS

President’s Award (Highest VSA Score to Date): Cadillac Escalade

Most Satisfying Vehicle Overall: Cadillac Escalade

Highest Satisfaction Premium Brand: Tesla

Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand: Kia

 

PASSENGER CARS:

Luxury Car

Aspirational Luxury Car

Luxury Mid-Size Car

Large Car

Mid-Size Car

Premium Compact Car

Compact Car

Economy Car

Sports Car

Sporty Car

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Volvo S60/V60

Nissan Maxima

Hyundai Azera

Kia Optima

Mercedes-Benz CLA

Kia Soul

Honda Fit

Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet Camaro

LIGHT TRUCKS:

Light Duty Pickup

Heavy Duty Pickup

Compact Pickup

Luxury SUV

Large SUV

Mid-Size SUV

Premium Luxury Crossover SUV

Luxury Crossover SUV

Large Crossover SUV

Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV

Mid-Size Crossover SUV

Compact Crossover SUV

Minivan

GMC Sierra 1500

GMC Sierra HD

Nissan Frontier

Cadillac Escalade

Chevrolet Suburban

Toyota 4Runner

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Lexus RX

GMC Acadia

Nissan Murano

Nissan Rogue

Hyundai Tucson

Kia Sedona

About AutoPacific

AutoPacific is a future-oriented automotive marketing and product-consulting firm. Every year AutoPacific publishes a wide variety of syndicated studies on the automotive industry. The firm also conducts extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto manufacturers, distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters are in Tustin, California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area. Additional information about AutoPacific and the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards can be found on AutoPacific’s websites: www.autopacific.com and www.vehiclevoice.com.

Contacts

Dan Hall dan.hall@autopacific.com 714.838.4234

George Peterson george.peterson@autopacific.com 714.838.4234

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2014 Chevrolet Impala Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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mm_gal_item_c2_1.img_resize.img_stage._2General Motors is turning out some darn good cars these days and the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is a good example.  The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is the highest scoring Large Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The Impala designers, planners and engineers understood who the target buyer is and developed a vehicle that meets their requirements. The 2014 Impala beat out some very impressive competitors in the Large Car category, such as the Hyundai Azera, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Buick LaCrosse, and the Toyota Avalon.  George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, says, “When we first saw the new Impala we were impressed with the car’s presence and top-notch execution.  Clearly, Impala owners agree and give it AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award for 2014.”

Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle questionnaire, the Chevrolet Impala led in five satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of another three.

The top five highest ratings by 2014 Impala owners are: same exterior styling, same cargo space, same interior lighting, same passenger room, and the same wheels as now.

No vehicle is perfect. Impala owners would like to see better driver seat visibility, more power and acceleration, and simpler technology that is easier to use.

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2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the highest scoring Premium Luxury Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The S-Class designers really hit the nail on head. Clearly, they understood who the target buyer is and developed a vehicle that met their requirements. The S-Class beats out a very impressive group of premium luxury cars such as the BMW 7-Series, Porsche Panamera, Lexus LS, and the Hyundai Equus.  Not only does the S-Class win its IVA class, it also was the highest scoring car EVER in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award Research for 2014.  This gets it AutoPacific’s President’s Award that has only been awarded one time previously.  George Peterson, President of AutoPacific says “The S-Class is hitting on all cylinders.  Not only did it score the highest satisfaction rating AutoPacific has EVER recorded, the product itself has hit its target market in terms of what they want in styling, packaging and engineering.”

S-Class owners truly do not want their vehicle changed. Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle question battery, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class led in six satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of another three.

The top five highest ratings by S-Class owners are: Same interior lighting, same ride and handling, same safety features, same seat fit, and same ease of getting in and out.

No vehicle is perfect. S-Class owners would like to see more cargo space and a simpler information and entertainment system.

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2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the highest scoring Hybrid/EV Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. Ford’s product development team knew exactly what their target buyers want and designed the Fusion to meet those needs.  The Fusion Hybrid is at the top of the list against a remarkable group of Hybrid/EV cars such as the Lincoln MKZ HEV, Honda Accord HEV-PHEV, Infiniti Q50 HEV, Volkswagen Jetta HEV, and the Lexus ES 300h.

Ford Fusion hybrid owners are satisfied with their vehicle and do not want it to be changed. Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle question battery, the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid led or tied in four categories and was within three percentage points of another two.

The top five highest ratings by Fusion HEV-PHEV owners are: same exterior styling, same tires, same riding/handling, same wheels, and the same seat fit as now.

Every vehicle has it flaws. Sixty percent of Ford Fusion HEV-PHEV owners would like more cargo space than they currently have. This is due to the hybrid battery pack taking precious trunk room.  There is also a split in the information and entertainment technology – MyFordTouch, 16 percent want more advanced technology while 19 percent want simpler technology.

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2014 Volkswagen Golf Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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The sixth generation of the venerable Volkswagen Golf goes out with a bang.  With the seventh gen Golf coming for the 2015 model year, the 2014 Volkswagen Golf is the highest scoring Compact Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The Golf designers listened to what buyers wanted and gave them just that. The VW Golf beat out a very impressive group of compact cars such as the Volkswagen Jetta, Subaru Impreza, Fiat 500L, Kia Soul, and the Hyundai Elantra.

For over 85% of 2014 Golf owners the following characteristics are ideal:  exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, ride and handling, tires and wheels, exterior styling, and driver’s seat comfort.

There are several things Beetles owners would like changed.  Over 21% of 2014 Volkswagen Golf owners want more advanced infotainment and entertainment systems.  This is offset by 15% who want the systems to be simpler and easier to use.  About 18% of the owners want more cargo room.  25% of Golf owners want the car to be easier to get into and out of.

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2014 BMW 3-Series GT Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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BMW_3series_wallpaper_18_612x383The 2014 BMW 3-Series GT is the highest scoring Aspirational Luxury Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The planners at BMW have decided that a sub-niche strategy is good and have developed the “Gran Turismo” version of their venerable 3-Series.  The designers and engineers have developed a product that provides owners with 3-Series goodness combined with wagon utility.  The 3-Series GT is at the top against some very impressive aspirational luxury cars such as the Audi A5, Audi A4, Volvo XC70, BMW 1-Series, and the Hyundai Genesis.  The 2014 3-Series GT also won AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award.  Winning both awards in one confirms that the 3-Series Gran Turismo is a very special car.  George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, concludes: “BMW is sub-niching the market with different bodystyles to appeal to a narrower and narrower group of buyers.  With the 3-Series Gran Turismo they have provided a very satisfying product that hits the target buyers’ requirements precisely.”

Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle survey, the 2014 BMW 3-Series GT leads or ties in four satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of another three.

The top five highest ratings by 3-Series GT owners are: same exterior size, same passenger room, same tires, same wheels, and the same cargo space.  These results confirm that the Gran Turismo buyers, specifically, appreciate the spaciousness and utility the GT bodystyle gives them.

Although the 3-Series GT is at the top there are several things owners would change. Owners would like different interior lighting, have better visibility, a more snug driver seat, more or better interior storage compartments and a different information and technology center.

There is a story to be told with the information and entertainment system. BMW was one of the first to implement the Human Machine Interface (HMI) – or iDrive system. They have continually struggled with their HMI system. While iDrive has improved substantially over the years, for this year seventeen percent of 3-Series GT owners want a more advanced system while twenty-two percent want a simpler one. BMW still has a way to go with their HMI system.

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2014 Ford Mustang Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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mst_14_pg_011_ext_fullIn the last year of this generation, the 2014 Ford Mustang is the highest scoring Sporty Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research.  For a car getting long in the tooth, the fact that its owners rate the car so strongly is a testament that the product development team at Ford listened to their consumers and have satisfied their needs for the past five years. The Mustang is at the top against some very iconic muscle cars such as the Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro, and the import brand sporty cars Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Scion tC, and the Hyundai Veloster.  For the past five years the sporty car IVA has changed hands between the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro.  It is very interesting that, in the last year of its generation, the Mustang wins for 2014.  George Peterson, President of AutoPacific notes, “That Mustang is able to pull off an Ideal Vehicle Award win in the last year of this generation is impressive.  The breadth of the Mustang lineup and the design execution has led its owners to vote it the most Ideal Sporty Car.”

2014 Ford Mustang owners are satisfied with their vehicle and do not want a great deal of change. Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle questionnaire, the 2014 Mustang led in one satisfaction category and was within three percentage points of four more.  This shows how close the scores were.

The top five highest ratings by Mustang owners are: same exterior size, same exterior styling, same tires, same safety features, and same cargo space as now.

No vehicle is perfect and Mustang owners did want several things changed. Mustang owners want a more advanced information and entertainment system, want it easier to get in and out of, and want more power and acceleration.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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2014-Chevrolet-Corvette-109-mediumThere is no doubt the all new C7 Corvette has recast America’s sports car in ways that ring the buyers’ bells.  The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is the highest scoring Sports Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The designers, planners and engineers at Chevrolet did an outstanding job listening to what their customers wanted. The Corvette was at the top of its category against some impressive competitors such as the Porsche Cayman, Porsche Boxster, MINI Coupe, Mazda MX-5, Nissan 370Z, and the Mercedes-Benz SLK.  The C6 Corvette previously won the Ideal Vehicle Award for the 2012 model year.  The Corvette has won AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award for the last three years in a row.  George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, says, “Chevrolet has improved the Corvette in all ways.  They have achieved a rare one-two win of AutoPacific’s annual owner-based awards.  Not only is the Corvette satisfying its buyers, but it is also an ideal interpretation of the iconic American sports car.”

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette owners are satisfied with their vehicle and do not want much change. Of the fifteen categories in the Idea Vehicle survey battery, the 2014 Corvette leads or ties in four satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points or another five.

The top five highest ratings by Corvette are: same exterior styling, same exterior size, same ride/handling, same interior lighting, and same seat fit as now.

Although the Corvette led in its category there are several things owners would change. Owners would like it to be easier to get in and out of the vehicle (they don’t want to crawl out of the driver’s seat with their hands on the ground?), want simpler information and entertainment system, better driver visibility (it’s a sports car, already!), and more power and acceleration (owners of high-powered sports cars always want MORE).

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2014 Volkswagen Passat Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is the highest scoring Mid-Size Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The Passat designers, planners and engineers knew exactly what their customers want and provided it.  The 2014 Volkswagen Passat is at the top of the list against an enormous group of very competitive mid-size cars such as the Buick Regal, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda6, and Subaru Legacy.

Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle survey, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat leads or ties in four satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of three more.

The top five highest ratings by 2014 Passat owners are: the same cargo space, same passenger room, same exterior size, same wheels, and the same interior storage as now.

2014 Volkswagen Passat owners would like more power and acceleration, a more advanced information and entertainment system, more distinctive exterior styling, and better visibility from the drivers seat.

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2014 Ford F-Series SD Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award

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2013_SUPER_DUTY_6507The 2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty is the highest scoring Heavy-Duty Pickup in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. Ford’s Super Duty product development team demonstrates again that they really know what heavy duty pickup drivers want.   The Super Duty beat out a very competitive group of heavy-duty pickups such as the GMC Sierra HD, Chevrolet Silverado HD and the Ram HD.  The Ford Super Duty has won AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award for its class in three of the last five years.  It also has won AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award in three of the last five years.  George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, says, “I just drove the 2015 model year of the Ford Super Duty and it is an impressive piece.  This does not take away from the win of the 2014 Ford F-Series Super Duty in AutoPacific’s research.  Super Duty owners rated it most Ideal Heavy Duty Pickup.  But the 2015 model is even better with a substantially upgraded Power Stroke Diesel powertrain.”

Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle question battery, the 2014 Ford F-Series SD led or tied in nine categories and was within three percentage points of another two.

The top five highest ratings by Super Duty owners are: same exterior size, same cargo space, same exterior styling, same visibility, and the same seat fit as now.

No vehicle is perfect. Super Duty owners are split on the information and entertainment system, fourteen percent wanting more advanced and 19 percent wanting simpler technology. SD owners also would like more power and acceleration, more interior storage, and more distinctive wheels than now.

For 2015, the Super Duty gets a stronger diesel engine with more power and torque.  This will probably satisfy those who want more power and acceleration.  An empty F-250 with this new engine feels like a very, very large sports car.

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