Americans Happy with Smaller Vehicles, Downsizing Trend Continues

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Quality Matters More Than Size (I'm Talking About Cars)

According to a survey by JD Power, drivers in the land of mammoth vehicles are warming up to smaller models. "The latest automotive study by J.D. Power and Associates suggests that owners of small cars and light trucks are often just as satisfied with their vehicles as owners of larger ones." A lot of this no doubt has to do with the availability of more quality small cars in the US, which is helping them shed their image as a "penalty box" reserved only for those who can't afford a better set of wheels.

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During the past six years, vehicle appeal, as measured by the J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study has significantly increased. Today's smaller vehicles are, in many cases, more appealing than the larger vehicles they replaced. In 2012, the average APEAL Study score for vehicles in the compact/sub-compact segment is 765 points (on a 1,000-point scale), which is the same as the average for mid vehicles in the study just four years ago. Similarly, in 2012, the average APEAL Study score for vehicles in the mid premium segment is 844, the same as the average for large premium vehicles four years ago.

The same survey found that 27% of new-vehicle buyers downsized while only 13% upsized, and the rest bought in the same segment as before. This movement down in size has now been going on for multiple years.

Fuel economy is also becoming a more important criteria (and it already was a big one): 47% of owners say gas mileage was one of the most important factors in choosing their new vehicle, up from 40 percent in 2011.

Via JD Power

See also: Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid to be Priced at $30k After Tax Credit

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