Ford, Honda earn top confidence picks


The words “Ford” and “Honda” mean confidence in the minds of consumers, according to a recent study of automotive brands.

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DETROIT — Toyota, Ford and Honda continue to maintain the top three spots in a survey of consumer perceptions about automotive brands, but their lead over other brands is shrinking, Consumer Reports says.

Only two points behind Honda this year was Chevrolet, followed by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, Cadillac, Lexus and newcomer Tesla to round out the top ten.

Saab, Fiat, Mini and Mitsubishi had the worst overall brand perception, according to the survey by the magazine.

Saab, which was declared bankrupt in December, earned only five points in overall brand perception while Fiat, Mini and Mitsubishi were all tied with seven points.

Most of the top brands saw double-digit drops in their scores.

Toyota dropped 16 points, from 147 points in 2011 to 131 points this year. Ford and Honda dropped 21 and 27 points, respectively.

“Dramatic events in the automotive industry seem to be affecting how consumers view auto brands,” Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports’ deputy editor for autos online, said in a statement. “Erratic gasoline prices and a struggling economy have pushed consumers to prize low operating costs and good reliability.”

The survey is based on data collected Dec. 1 through 5 from 1,702 adults in households with at least one car.

The magazine said the scores were adjusted to correct for awareness of brands and provide a more level playing field for new brands such as Fiat, Fisker, and Tesla. Its margin of error is plus or minus 2.4 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

Safety first

The overall scores reflect how consumers perceive each brand by rating them in seven categories.

Safety is the most important factor for car buyers, followed by quality, value, performance, environmentally friendly/green, design/style, and technology/innovation.

“Brand perception can be influenced by many things, from professional road tests to marketing,” Bartlett said in the statement. “Word-of-mouth from friends and neighbors can be a slower moving, though influential contributor as ownership transitions from the initial honeymoon phase to the seven-year itch.”

Volvo has historically led the safety category by wide margins, Consumer Reports noted, but its lead fell this year. Ford maintained second place and Toyota — a newcomer to the top five brands in safety — beat Honda and Mercedes-Benz to take third place in the category.

Subaru — fourth place in the safety category last year — fell out of the top five brands.

The top brands ranked for quality were Toyota, Honda, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Chevrolet.

Ford maintained the top spot for perceived brand value, followed by Toyota and Honda.


Despite the marketing efforts behind the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and all-electric Nissan Leaf, those brands did not spring ahead in the environmental category, Consumer Reports said.

Chevy placed fifth, down from fourth place last year, and Nissan ranked 7th. Instead, Smart made its debut in the top five brands ranked for environmental friendliness with a second-place finish, ahead of Honda and Ford, and only six percentage points behind reigning champ Toyota.

Read more, including charts and graphs:

We’re proud to say we sell these Fords and Hondas, congratulations to the brands!


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About Jeff Russ

Lead blogger and content writer for the Waikem Auto Family in Massillon, Ohio. Product specialist in Ford, Nissan, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi models. 2008 Graduate of Kent State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Married to wife Christina. Resides in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

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