'Consumer Reports' survey rank best brands
Toyota has the best brand image amongst automakers, according to a new survey from Consumer Reports.
The magazine's 2013 Car Brand Perception Survey tallied up consumers' opinions on various brands in various categories.
Toyota had the best aggregate score in 2012, as they did in 2011, followed by Ford and Honda, who also held the same rank they did last year.
The fourth, fifth and sixth place brand perception rankings also stayed the same (Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo grabbed those spots, respectively).
Electric vehicle upstart Tesla made the top 10 again this year.
Toyota-owned Scion was the make with the worst brand perception were Scion, followed by Mitsubishi. While Dodge broke into the ten best this year, sibling brands Ram and Fiat were ranked fourth and fifth worst, respectively, followed by MINI.
The generally higher, more-closely-grouped scores of the top brands led Consumer Reports analysts to believe people's perceptions of car brands are getting better overall, but also that "consumers are identifying with more brands than before, making it harder for most car companies to stand out from the competition."
The survey also found the factors new car buyers consider most important haven't changed much – quality, safety and value were the top three, in that order – and that women buyers put more of an emphasis on a car's safety and environmental impact while men honed in on style.
The quality category was dominated by Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz in this year's survey, while safety went to Volvo, Ford and Honda, based on consumers' brand perceptions.
Toyota, Honda and Ford also owned value. Toyota, smart and Tesla were perceived as the most environmentally friendly, in that order; and Audi, Cadillac and BMW were considered the most stylish.
The results of the Consumer Reports 2013 Car Brand Perception Survey were based on responses from roughly 3,800 car-owning U.S. adults polled December 2012.