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Perceptions of Auto Brands - Canada - January 2018

Brand perceptions for automotive manufacturers are critical to success since consumers are infrequently in the market for a vehicle. Gas mileage, safety ratings, reputation and past experiences are key factors that play a role in shaping consumers’ perceptions of car brands. Operators in the category face hurdles such as bad publicity and the fact that most consumers are considering multiple brands for their next vehicle. With consumers likely to respond well to brands with strong resale value and to those that have high safety ratings, auto makers will need to identify their strengths and address them, in order to reach their target audience.

This report examines the following issues:

  • Below average perceptions of Dodge and GMC
  • Negative publicity and reviews affect brand consideration
  • The majority are considering multiple brands

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definitions
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Below average perceptions of Dodge and GMC
            • Figure 1: Perceptions of auto brands, Dodge vs GMC vs average perception score across all brands, October 2017
          • Negative publicity and reviews affect brand consideration
            • Figure 2: Media-related attitudes towards car brands, October 2017
          • The majority are considering multiple brands
            • The opportunities
              • Honda and Toyota are in a good position
                • Figure 3: Perceptions of auto brands, Toyota vs Honda vs average perception score across all brands, October 2017
              • Most enjoy driving their car
                • Figure 4: Loyalty towards cars and car brands, October 2017
              • Gas mileage a key influencing factor
                • Figure 5: Influencing factors (any rank), October 2017
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Government investment in Ontario’s auto industry
                  • Longer-lasting vehicles impact purchase decisions
                    • Monetary worries can lead to conservative spending habits
                      • Gas prices can affect vehicle choice
                      • Market Factors

                        • Government investment in Ontario’s auto sector
                          • Longer-lasting vehicles impact purchase decisions
                            • Monetary concerns can lead to cautious spending habits
                              • Gasoline prices can affect vehicle choice
                                • Figure 6: Average retail prices for regular gasoline in Canada
                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                              • Marketing Subaru’s outdoor abilities
                                • Mazda targets those who enjoy driving
                                  • Honda and Toyota excel
                                    • Recalls continue
                                      • Volvo and Jaguar plan electric and hybrid lineup
                                      • Marketing and Advertising

                                        • Subaru’s outdoor capabilities
                                          • Figure 7: Subaru, mobile-advertisement, September 2017
                                          • Figure 8: Subaru, mobile-advertisement, September 2017
                                        • Mazda targets those who enjoy driving
                                          • Figure 9: Mazda, online-advertisement, November 2017
                                          • Figure 10: Mazda, online-advertisement, May 2017
                                          • Figure 11: Mazda Canada, 2017 CX-5, The Art of The Drive, April 2017
                                        • Built Ford tough
                                          • Figure 12: Ford, online-advertisement, November 2017
                                          • Figure 13: Ford Canada, haul more with the new 2018 F-150, September 2017
                                        • VW’s stylish new additions
                                          • Figure 14: Volkswagen, online-advertisement, October 2017
                                          • Figure 15: Volkswagen, Volksfest sales event, print advertisement, October 2017
                                      • What’s Working?

                                        • Honda and Toyota dominate
                                          • Tesla highly regarded as “cutting-edge”
                                          • What’s Struggling?

                                            • Recalls persist
                                              • Positive perceptions of VW even after emissions scandal
                                              • What’s Next?

                                                • Volvo and Jaguar soon to go all electric and hybrid
                                                  • Ford and General Motors look to rebrand as mobility companies
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Perceptions strong for Honda and Toyota
                                                      • Mazda seen as stylish, Kia and Hyundai as good value
                                                        • Most enjoy driving their vehicle
                                                          • Gas mileage the top influencing factor
                                                            • Negative publicity and reviews affect brand consideration
                                                            • Perceptions of Auto Brands

                                                              • Honda and Toyota lead the pack
                                                                • Figure 16: Perceptions of auto brands, Toyota vs Honda vs average perception score across all brands, October 2017
                                                              • Older consumers driving many of the increased Toyota perceptions
                                                                • Figure 17: Perceptions of Toyota (select), by age, October 2017
                                                              • Similar age trends seen with Honda perceptions
                                                                • Figure 18: Perceptions of Honda (select), by age, October 2017
                                                              • Chinese Canadians have a favourable view of Honda
                                                                • Figure 19: Perception of Honda, Chinese Canadians vs overall population, October 2017
                                                              • Dodge and GMC lag behind
                                                                • Figure 20: Perceptions of auto brands, Dodge vs GMC vs average perception score across all brands, October 2017
                                                              • VW seen as stylish, good quality and luxurious
                                                                • Figure 21: Perceptions of auto brands, Volkswagen vs average perception score across all brands, October 2017
                                                              • Mazda viewed as stylish, but less so on durability
                                                                • Figure 22: Perceptions of auto brands (select), Mazda vs average perception score across all brands, October 2017
                                                              • South Korean auto makers receive high marks for value
                                                                • Figure 23: Good value perception of auto brands, Hyundai vs Kia vs average perception score across all brands, October 2017
                                                            • Brand Loyalty

                                                              • Most take pleasure in driving their vehicle
                                                                • Figure 24: Loyalty towards cars and car brands, October 2017
                                                              • Women place more importance on resale value
                                                                • Figure 25: Importance of resale price when choosing a brand, by gender, October 2017
                                                              • Over half are considering multiple brands
                                                              • Influencing Factors

                                                                • Gas mileage is a key influencing factor
                                                                  • Figure 26: Influencing factors (any rank), October 2017
                                                                • Older cohorts more likely to cite past experience and customer service
                                                                  • Figure 27: Influencing factors (any rank), 18-44s vs over-45s, October 2017
                                                              • Attitudes towards Automotive Brands

                                                                • Negative publicity as well as reviews can swing brand consideration
                                                                  • Figure 28: Media-related attitudes towards car brands, October 2017
                                                                  • Figure 29: Select attitudes towards car brands, October 2017
                                                                • Safety a concern for Chinese Canadians
                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                      • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                          • Abbreviations

                                                                          Perceptions of Auto Brands - Canada - January 2018

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