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Perceptions of Auto Brands - US - June 2017

"Brand perception for automotive companies is critical to success since consumers are so infrequently in the market for a vehicle. Past experiences, reputation, and word of mouth are crucial factors that play a role in shaping consumers’ choices before they even decide on what to purchase. For success in the marketplace, brands need to identify their strengths and weaknesses and address them to their target audience."
- Buddy Lo, Automotive Analyst

This Report discusses the following key topics:

  • New vehicle sales expected to plateau for 2017
  • Outside of top four, brands struggle in brand perception
  • Diesel emission scandals erode trust in auto manufacturers

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The issues
            • New vehicle sales expected to plateau for 2017
              • Figure 1: Total US unit sales and forecast of new cars and light trucks, 2011-21
            • Outside of top four, brands struggle in brand perception
              • Figure 2: Brand perceptions, March 2017
            • Diesel emission scandals erode trust in auto manufacturers
              • The opportunities
                • SUVs and crossovers will drive the market
                  • Younger women open to other brands for next purchase
                    • Figure 3: Attitudes toward car brands, by age and gender, March 2017
                  • What it means
                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                    • New vehicle sales expected to plateau for 2017
                      • Low gas prices stall demand for efficiency
                        • Recalls and scandals scare off car buyers
                        • Market Factors

                          • Recalls and scandals can turn shoppers away
                            • Low gas prices put less emphasis on fuel efficiency
                              • Figure 4: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2007-April 2017
                            • Longer-lasting vehicles impact purchase decisions
                              • Figure 5: Average age of vehicles, 1996-2016
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, and Honda are the top four brands in sales
                              • Nissan Rogue top-selling non-pickup truck in the US in start of 2017
                                • Ford and GM seek to rebrand as mobility companies
                                • Vehicle Sales by Brand

                                  • Total new vehicle sales by brand – 2016
                                    • Figure 6: Units sold and market share, by brand, 2016
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Nissan Rogue charges to the top of the sales chart
                                    • Ram’s “longest lasting pickup truck” reputation sticks
                                      • Figure 7: Ram pickup truck direct mail, March 2017
                                  • What’s Struggling?

                                    • Volkswagen hopes to shed emission scandal with heavy EV investments
                                    • What’s Next?

                                      • Ford and General Motors seek to rebrand as mobility companies
                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                        • Brand perceptions vary by demographics and interest in vehicle types
                                          • Half of consumers won’t buy a car made abroad
                                            • Younger women are an ideal audience to conquest other brands
                                            • Vehicle Types Considered

                                              • Sedans and SUVs top body style considerations for car shoppers
                                                • Figure 8: Vehicle types, March 2017
                                                • Figure 9: Vehicle types, by SUV, crossover, and wagon/hatchback shoppers, March 2017
                                              • Men more likely than women to consider specialized vehicle types
                                                • Figure 10: Vehicle types, by gender, March 2017
                                            • Brand Perceptions

                                              • General population brand perceptions
                                                • Figure 11: Brand perceptions, March 2017
                                              • Car shoppers’ brand perceptions
                                                • Figure 12: Brand perceptions, by car shoppers, March 2017
                                              • Brand perceptions by gender
                                                • Minor differences between genders
                                                  • Figure 13: Select brand perceptions – Toyota, by gender, March 2017
                                                  • Figure 14: Select brand perceptions – Jeep, by gender, March 2017
                                                  • Figure 15: Select brand perceptions – Ford, by gender, March 2017
                                                • Brand perceptions by generation
                                                  • Ford and Chevrolet top perceptions among iGeneration
                                                    • Figure 16: Brand perceptions – Toyota, by iGeneration, March 2017
                                                    • Figure 17: Brand perceptions – Dodge, by iGeneration, March 2017
                                                    • Figure 18: Brand perceptions – Volkswagen, by iGeneration, March 2017
                                                  • Jeep sees the most improvement among Millennials
                                                    • Figure 19: Brand perceptions – Jeep, by Millennials and non-Millennials, March 2017
                                                    • Figure 20: Brand perceptions – Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, Ford, and Jeep, March 2017
                                                  • Jeep, Volkswagen, and Kia see drops among Gen Xers
                                                    • Figure 21: Brand perceptions – Jeep, by Generation X, March 2017
                                                    • Figure 22: Brand perceptions – Kia, by Generation X, March 2017
                                                    • Figure 23: Brand perceptions – Volkswagen, by Generation X, March 2017
                                                  • Brand perceptions by race/ethnicity
                                                    • Asians overwhelmingly favor Toyota and Honda
                                                      • Figure 24: Brand perceptions, by Asians, March 2017
                                                    • Kia and Nissan outperform among Blacks and Hispanics
                                                      • Figure 25: Brand perceptions – Kia, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, March 2017
                                                      • Figure 26: Brand perceptions – Nissan, March 2017
                                                      • Figure 27: Brand perceptions – High performance, by ethnicity and Hispanic origin, March 2017
                                                    • Brand perceptions by body style interest
                                                      • Toyota and Honda excel among sedan shoppers
                                                        • Figure 28: Brand perceptions – Toyota and Honda, by sedan shoppers, March 2017
                                                      • Jeep and GMC outperform among SUV shoppers
                                                        • Figure 29: Brand perceptions – Jeep and GMC, by SUV shoppers, March 2017
                                                      • Subaru shines in eyes of crossover and wagon/hatchback shoppers
                                                        • Figure 30: Brand perceptions – Subaru and Volkswagen, by crossover shoppers and wagon/hatchback shoppers, March 2017
                                                      • Domestic brands see largest uptick among pickup shoppers
                                                        • Figure 31: Average percentage of brand perceptions across all categories, by pickup truck shoppers, March 2017
                                                      • Toyota and Honda top brands among hybrid/EV shoppers
                                                        • Figure 32: Brand perceptions, by hybrid and electric vehicle shoppers, March 2017
                                                      • Kia elevates among minivan shoppers but still lags Toyota and Honda
                                                        • Figure 33: Brand perceptions, by minivan shoppers, March 2017
                                                    • Attitudes toward Car Brands

                                                      • Less than half of car owners enjoy driving their own car
                                                        • Figure 34: Attitudes toward car brands, March 2017
                                                      • Younger women are less brand loyal than men and older women
                                                        • Figure 35: Attitudes toward car brands, by age and gender, March 2017
                                                      • Convertible and sports car shoppers self-identify with brands
                                                        • Figure 36: Attitudes toward car brands, by vehicle type, March 2017
                                                    • Factors Influencing Perceptions

                                                      • Price and gas mileage are the most prominent influencers
                                                          • Figure 37: Factors influencing perceptions, March 2017
                                                        • Gas mileage often ranks in top five but is rarely the top factor
                                                          • Figure 38: Factors influencing perceptions, by ranking, March 2017
                                                        • Parents with children in the household influenced by family and friends
                                                            • Figure 39: Factors influencing perceptions, by minivan shoppers and parental status, March 2017
                                                        • Attitudes toward Domestic and Foreign Brands

                                                          • Nearly half of consumers would consider a vehicle not made in America
                                                            • Figure 40: Attitudes toward domestic and foreign brands, March 2017
                                                          • Younger generations can be turned by good reviews or price
                                                            • Figure 41: Attitudes toward domestic and foreign brands, by generation, March 2017
                                                          • Country of origin more important than the brand
                                                            • Figure 42: Attitudes toward domestic and foreign brands, March 2017
                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                          • Data sources
                                                            • Sales data
                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                • Direct marketing creative
                                                                  • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                        • Terms
                                                                        • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                            • Figure 43: Top 15-selling non-pickup truck models, January-May 2017

                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                        To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                        Perceptions of Auto Brands - US - June 2017

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