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Dodge is on a roll. In spite of not having anything new in years, this is the second year in a row that Dodge has come up as the brand that is most appealing according to JD Power. Ram also scored the highest for trucks. So Stellantis is taking home the bacon this year. Porsche took the top spot for premium brands; except for Tesla. What?

Tesla received a better score than either Dodge or Porsche, so what’s going on?

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat | Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times, Getty

It seems that actually, Tesla should have won the category. Based on the numbers, Tesla scored 893 which put it ahead of Porsche. But Tesla has a hangup on customers being tested. It won’t allow it. And a minimum of 15 states needs representation before a brand is included in the scoring. 

So even though Tesla won, it didn’t. JD Power does a yearly Performance, Execution, and Layout Study. It asks for 37 attributes buyers like, including comfort level, excitement when accelerating, and more. These categories get lumped together on a 1,000-point scale. 

Dodge had the highest score for mass-market vehicles

Toyota Camry's at a dealership in CA
Toyota sedans have another purpose | Yichuan Cao via Getty Images

The average score out of 1,000 was 845. Dodge scored an 882 for mass-market brands. Ram scored 881, and Nissan was a distant third at 866 points. With Nissan’s recent woes it’s surprising to see it in third place. 

For mass-market brands, Toyota moved up the most. It moved up five places with an 838 score. At the bottom are Buick, Mitsubishi, and Chrysler. In fact, Chrysler is based on the same platform as the Charger and Challenger’s modified platform. But you know what they say about perception, “It’s not what you look at but what you see.” 

For Premium brand Porsche beat out Genesis to take first for the third time in a row. It also scored 882. Behind Genesis was Land Rover and then Lincoln. Genesis also saw its fortunes rise by four places making it the premium brand with the largest gain. 

Coming in the bottom spots are Infinity, Acura, and Audi

2021 Acura TLX Type S
2021 Acura TLX Type S

The average score for premium brands was 864, besting the median for mass-market brands. Rounding out the bottom is Infinity, Acura, and Audi. Surprisingly, Alfa Romeo, with a reputation for repair issues, scored only 10 points behind the median. 

“One of the biggest factors driving the industry’s improvement this year is the introduction of several highly appealing new models,” David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “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.”

The survey had over 110,000 responses this year from owners of 2021 models. They must have had their new cars for a minimum of 90 days before participating. Respondents began in February and the survey was over in July.