Tesla unofficially tops J.D. Power’s APEAL Study once again

Tesla TSLA

Tesla has unofficially topped J.D. Power’s APEAL study, which tests how an owner emotionally connects with their new car. It is the 26th time J.D. Power has performed the APEAL study, and the second straight year, Tesla took the top prize, unofficially.



APEAL stands for Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout, and ranks how owners feel after 90 days of ownership. Emotionally connecting to a vehicle occurs when a buyer genuinely is enthusiastic about their purchase, and once again, Tesla managed to provide that most frequently.

“One of the biggest factors driving the industry’s improvement this year is the introduction of several highly appealing new models,” J.D. Power Director of Global Automotive David Amodeo said. “The APEAL Study measures owners’ emotional attachment to their new vehicle, and the product launches that took place this model year have done a really good job. Some are all-new, and some are redesigns, but the new launches demonstrate that automakers are getting even better at hitting buyers’ emotional triggers.”

Tesla scored three fewer points than last year with 893. The highest possible score is 1,000 points based on owner responses.

J.D. Power wrote that Tesla’s unofficial score was the highest in the study. The score is technically unofficially because Tesla does not grant J.D. Power permission to survey its owners in the fifteen states where permission is required. Tesla’s score was calculated based on sample surveys from owners in the other 35 states. J.D. Power wrote:

“Tesla receives an APEAL index score of 893, which is three points lower than last year. The automaker is not officially ranked among other brands in the study as it doesn’t meet ranking criteria. Unlike other manufacturers.”

Behind Tesla was Porsche with a score of 882, Genesis and Land Rover with scores of 879, and Lincoln with a score of 876. Mass-market brands were led by Dodge (882), Ram (881), and Nissan (866).



In February, Tesla placed 30th out of 33 manufacturers in a J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability survey, which tracked 177 specific problems in eight different categories. The survey showed Tesla had 176 issues per 100 vehicles. Once again, Tesla did not permit J.D. Power to perform the survey directly to its owners, but enough data was given through independent sources to give the company a qualifying score.

Interestingly, the claimed issues from the Vehicle Dependability Survey do not align with the APEAL study, as Tesla has once again topped the list.

The full press release for the 2021 APEAL study is available below.

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