Domestic auto brands are more popular than foreign brands in the United States for the first time in 13 years, according to a survey released July 15.

For the first time since 1997, J.D. Power's Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) study judged that collectively, US brands were rated higher than imports, by some 13 points on a 1,000 point scale.

Conversely, import brands were judged more appealing than US brands in 2009, although the difference had narrowed to only 5 points, from a 27 point chasm in 2006.

Consumers were driven to US brands primarily by high-performing models from Ford and General Motors, according to the authors.

"Domestic automakers have performed three important actions during the past two years that have led to their gains," said David Sargen from J.D. Power and Associates.

"Firstly, they have retired many models that demonstrated low appeal. They have also introduced new, highly appealing models to their lineups, and finally, they have improved their existing models through freshenings and redesigns."

While European brands Porsche, Jaguar and BMW led the study's nameplate ranking, the overall foreign average was pulled down considerably by Toyota, Suzuki and Subaru, which trailed the list along with US brands Jeep and Chrysler.

The performance of Lincoln, Cadillac and Buick helped push US manufacturers to an average of 787 points, higher than the industry average of 778 and the foreign average of 774.

The study was based on responses gathered between February and May 2010 from more than 76,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2010 model-year cars.

Split down by segment (vehicle type), Ford topped the list, with five of its models picked as the most appealing - the Expedition, Explorer Sport Trac, Flex, Fusion and Taurus were all segment leaders.

Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen each managed two segment-leader awards.

The most appealing brands in the US
Data from J.D. Power and Associates - 2010 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study

1. Porsche
2. Jaguar
3. BMW
4. Mercedes-Benz
5. Land Rover
6. Audi
7. Lexus
8. Acura
9. Lincoln
10. Cadillac

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