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Auto blogWed, 23 Jul 2014 18:29:00 EST
Just as they did in the Initial Quality Study, Porsche and Hyundai have taken the premium and non-premium crown, respectively, for the 2014 J.D. Power APEAL study. This is the tenth consecutive year for that Porsche has been rated the best premium make in the APEAL study, which attempts to figure out how pleased owners are with their purchases. For 2014, it asked 86,000 owners of MY2014 cars to rate their vehicles in 77 different categories 90 days after their initial purchase. The resulting figures were plugged in deliver the APEAL score, which is rated on a 1,000-point scale.
The industry average sits at 794 points for 2014, although that's a one-percent decline over last year's rating. In this year's study, premium brands averaged 840 out of 1,000, while non-premium makes average 785. For their part, Porsche netted an impressive 882 points, while Hyundai earned an 804. Interestingly, only four non-premium brands (Hyundai, Ram, Volkswagen and Mini) finished above the industry average for 2014.
It's also interesting to see the clear delineation between premium and non-premium brands, with an eight-point gap between the non-premium champ, Hyundai, and the lowest-rated premium brand, Volvo.
Manufacture of the next-generation Porsche Panamera could be moving, if a report from Reuters is true. The current-generation Panamera range has its bodies welded together and painted at a Volkswagen facility in Hanover before being shipped to Leipzig where final assembly takes place.
According to Reuters, Porsche is looking to cut VW out of the equation and focus production of the Panamera in Leipzig. While this could cost 800 of the 14,300 workers at Hanover their jobs, it's not entirely clear what Porsche stands to gain by the move. It recently invested 50- million euros (about $680 million at today's rates) on a paint and body shop for its Leipzig factory, ostensibly so the facility could have Macan production underway by that car's spring 2014 on-sale date. If the facility was also designed with next-generation Panamera production in mind, then Porsche's decision to put all of its eggs in one basket could make a lot of sense. It currently ships the semi-completed Panameras from Hanover to Leipzig, a distance of around 160 miles by road, and presumably it's a costly and time-consuming process.
The Leipzig factory produced 27,000 Panameras last year, although it's unclear just what its production capacity really is. Besides the Panamera and the upcoming Macan, the factory also builds the Porsche Cayenne.
If you're enticed by the idea of a Porsche sedan but find the Panamera to be too big, your hopes may have been raised by the development of the so-called Pajun. But don't get those hopes up too much, because the latest word coming in from the Old World has it that the Panamera Junior has been delayed.
The Pajun was (and theoretically still is, despite tardiness) a project to apply to the Panamera the same winning formula that Porsche used to transmute the Cayenne into the smaller Macan. Its size would be closer to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class than the larger Panamera, and employ an array of six-cylinder engines.
The smaller five-door was set to be the cornerstone of Porsche Product Strategy 2018, a plan that included several new models to be launched within the next four years. However, reports now indicate that the Volkswagen Group is counting on Porsche to help bolster its profits and is not keen on investing in new products at this time, pushing the Pajun and other projects back until 2019 at the earliest. Although much of the strategy remains undisclosed, it is believed to include (or have included) a sub-Boxster sports car and a supercar to slot in between the 911 and the 918 Spyder. There was also talk of a shooting brake version of the Panamera based on the Sport Turismo concept pictured above. What will become of those projects, however, remains to be seen.