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Luxury brands top best-liked cars list

Porsche tops the list, while Toyota's inexpensive Scion is the best-liked non-luxury car in survey.


NEW YORK ( -- People who pay more to buy an expensive luxury car really do like their cars better, according to a new ranking from J.D. Power and Associates.

The top 11 brands in the J.D. Power and Associates "Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout" (APEAL) survey are all high-priced luxury brands. The top performing non-luxury brand, Toyota Motor Company's Scion, finished 12th in the rankings. The poll ranked a total to 35 brands.

Porsche was the top ranked car brand, while BMW was second, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Lexus.

Car owners were surveyed during the first 90 days of ownership to see how well they liked their new cars. Only 2007 model year cars were included.

All three of DiamlerChrysler's U.S. based Chrysler Group brands finished in the bottom five. Jeep was the lowest-ranked brand of all, Dodge third-lowest and Chrysler fifth-lowest.

Japanese brands Subaru and Suzuki rounded out the bottom five.

Out of a possible 1,000 points, scores ranged from 849 for Porsche to 718 for Jeep. The average score for an overall car brand was 772.

While that range may seem small, it shows a big difference in statistical and practical terms, said Joe Ivers, executive director for J.D. Power.

"It translates to a huge difference in the range of delight, or, in this case, misery for Jeep customers," he said.

It also translates into negative word of mouth and lost sales, he said.

Of U.S.-base brands, only General Motors' Cadillac and Hummer brands, as well as Ford's Lincoln brand scored above average overall. (Several individual models from the Detroit brands finished at the top of their respective categories, however.)

In addition to ranking automotive brands, the J.D. Power survey also ranked individual vehicle models within their respective car classes

Honda had the most individual models finishing at the top of their respective categories. The Honda Fit tied with Toyota's Yaris for top compact car, while the Honda CR-V was the top compact SUV, the Honda Ridgeline was the top pickup, and Honda's Odyssey ranked as the best minivan.

Recently introduced or redesigned models tended to perform best in the survey. Cars that score high on J.D. Power's APEAL survey also tend to be more profitable, J.D. Power said in the announcement, since they require fewer incentives to sell.

"Whether due to fresh designs or innovative features, APEAL scores tend to be highest for models when they are first introduced," said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis at J.D. Power and Associates. "It's essential for manufacturers to get new-vehicle launches right, since vehicles with high appeal scores generally command a higher gross profit and sell more quickly."

Top scoring car models:

Subcompact car: Honda Fit/Toyota Yaris

Compact car: Volkswagen Jetta

Compact sporty car: Volkswagen Jetta

Compact premium sporty car: Porsche Cayman

Entry premium car: BMW 3-series

Midsized premium car: Mercedes-Benz E-class

Large premium car: Mercedes-Benz S-class

Premium sporty car: BMW 6-series

Midsize sporty car: Ford Mustang

Midsize car: Nissan Altima sedan

Large car: Hyundai Azera

Compact SUV: Honda CR-V

Midsize SUV: Ford Edge

Large SUV: Nissan Armada

Midsize premium SUV: BMW X5

Large premium SUV: Cadillac Escalade EXT/Mercedes-Benz GL-class

Large pickup: GMC Sierra

Midsize pickup: Honda Ridgeline

Van: Honda Odyssey

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