Consumer Reports 2013 Car Brand Perception Survey

The results of the 2013 Car Brand Perception Survey again show two Japanese brands (Toyota and Honda) and two American brands (Ford and Chevy) at the top of the list, but with narrower margins. While things are looking good for #1 Toyota, there may be a call for some new strategies at corporate HQ to help sister brand Lexus, which was unseated from the leader board by Dodge this year

As the name states, Consumer Reports’ Survey does not measure the performance of the car models in question (although they have plenty of analytics on that if you’re interested). Rather, it measures what people think of the brand. Consumers are asked how they perceive the brands in terms of quality, safety, value, performance, design/style, technology/innovation, and environmentally friendly/green. The total scores are then calculated in a way that, Consumer Reports says, ensures “that every brand has an equal chance of leading a category, not just the best-selling or most well-known brands.”

The most substantial category lead award goes to Volvo, which continues to sell its brand promise of safety, safety, safety. This year, 53% of respondents who were aware of the brand named it their first choice in safety. While Consumer Reports notes this percentage has eroded from a high of 70% in 2010, this still gives Volvo a commanding lead over 2nd place Ford. Only 19% of aware consumers named Ford as their first choice in safety.

Not unexpectedly given its all-around win, Toyota led the pack in 4 of the 7 categories: quality (tied with Honda), value, technology/innovation, and environmentally friendly/green.


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