JD Power: Hyundai Genesis Highest-Ranked Newly-Launched Vehicle

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis ranks highest in launch performance among vehicle models introduced during the first ten months of 2008, according to J.D. Power and Associates' 2009 Vehicle Launch Index released today. Hyundai? Yes, Hyundai.

The Vehicle Launch Index ranks how well new vehicle models — including new entries to the market and all-new and redesigned models — perform during the first eight months after launch. The Genesis blew the rest of the pack of 27 new models out of the water, with a score of 689 on a 1,000-point scale. Following the Hyundai Genesis in the rankings are the 2009 Ford F-150 (673) and 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan (663).

It's the third major award for the Hyundai Genesis. Consumer Reports rated it the top new upscale sedan, besting the Lexus ES 350. The Genesis also won the 2009 North American Car & Truck Of The Year award.

On the lower end of JD Power's scale were the 2009 Dodge Journey (513), 2009 Pontiac Vibe (504), 2009 Dodge Ram (459) and the Vibe's platform brother-in-arms, the 2009 Toyota Matrix (439).

Full press release below and the full chart of all 27 newly-launched vehicles are above. Click the graphic to enlarge the list to something more legible.

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Hyundai Genesis Ranks Highest in Inaugural Vehicle Launch Index

Getting New Vehicles Right from the Start is Critical, as Automakers Will Pour $50 Billion Into U.S. Launches During the Next Four Years

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 22 July 2009 - The 2009 Hyundai Genesis ranks highest in launch performance among vehicle models introduced during the first ten months of 2008, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Launch Index SM (VLI) released today.

The inaugural Vehicle Launch Index quantifies how well new vehicle models-including new entries to the market and all-new and redesigned models-perform during the first eight months after launch. The VLI examines various factors that are critical to the financial success of a launch, including turn rate, vehicle revenue, dealer gross profit, incentive spend, credit quality and residual value. In addition, VLI includes the key factors of vehicle quality and design, based on the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study SM (IQS) and Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM

The Vehicle Launch Index is an independent measure designed to help automakers plan and execute successful vehicle launches in order to maximize revenue and profits, minimize incentive spending and maintain high residual values during a model's lifecycle.

"Launching new vehicles successfully is critical to the financial success of every automaker," said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. "Given lower consumer demand, vehicle proliferation and the financial pressures on the auto industry, every manufacturer must get it ‘right' from the start. By carefully analyzing more than 90 vehicle launches that have been executed in the United States, we have determined the key factors for launch success."

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is the leading example of initial launch success and ranks highest among the 27 models examined in the 2009 VLI, with a score of 689 on a 1,000-point scale. Following the Hyundai Genesis in the rankings are the 2009 Ford F-150 (673) and 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan (663).

J.D. Power and Associates forecasts that automakers will conduct 205 new-model launches in the U.S. between 2009 and 2012 and will invest approximately $50 billion in the process. Of the 205 new models, 80 will be new entries to the market, 52 will be all-new models, and 73 will be major redesigns.

"With so much at stake, it is more critical than ever for manufacturers to launch new models that meet their financial targets, as well as product quality and consumer appeal benchmarks," said Dilts. "While some domestic manufacturers are facing tight scrutiny from the federal government and taxpayers, every automaker across the globe is being closely monitored both by governments and shareholders. Strong showings by new models are vital to the economic security of the automakers and will be instrumental in rebuilding Americans' confidence in the auto industry."

The VLI has identified the following key elements that drive the success of newly-launched models:

* Optimal vehicle price and volume levels are established prior to launch;
* Manufacturers sustain the proper product mix and incentive support;
* Automakers and dealers effectively manage inventory levels and turn rates;
* The model is attractively designed and provides high levels of consumer appeal in terms of styling, performance, functionality and ease of operation;
* The model launches with high initial quality, enhancing the automaker's image and supporting residual values.

Conversely, the following conditions lead to less-successful model launches:

* Unrealistic expectations regarding pricing and sales volumes;
* Poor balance of supply and demand, leading to excessive inventory levels;
* Inadequate vehicle appeal and poor initial quality leading to low consumer acceptance and a tarnished brand image.

The 2009 Vehicle Launch Index includes 2008 and 2009 model-year vehicles first sold between January and October 2008. Vehicles must be all-new or major redesigns and must sell at least 5,000 units during the first eight months to be included. The index is based on proprietary information collected through the Power Information Network and J.D. Power and Associates' consumer research.

The Vehicle Launch Index is part of J.D. Power and Associates' 10-module Launch Assurance Program designed to provide automakers with immediate and actionable insights about their vehicle models from initial concept and product development through manufacturing and distribution to the initial ownership experience.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.