While today's auto industry remains in rebound mode as far as sales go, customer satisfaction with today's vehicles has never been higher—and it's an unlikely brand that's helping lead the way. That's the bottom line from the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which gauges how "gratifying" a vehicle is to drive and own during the first 90 days after delivery. The average brand score in this year's study climbed three points to 781 (on a 1,000-point scale), with a resurgent Dodge tying BMW for the most individual segment winners (three). The highest-rated brand was Porsche, which scored 879 points.
More than 73,000 drivers of 2011 vehicles bought or leased between February and May of this year participated in the study, evaluating their vehicles across more than 80 different aspects of the ownership experience.