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US Perception of Auto Brands Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Perception of Auto Brands market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

A strong car brand can create significant value in the automotive industry. For mass-market cars, brand helps determine which products a consumer considers buying. Superior brands extend their halo across every model of vehicle within the brand. As a result, most auto manufacturers make brand positioning and development a key item on their marketing agenda.

This report covers consumers’ perceptions of car brands across all types including, but not limited to, sedans, coupes, station wagons, pickup trucks, vans, minivans, crossover utility vehicles and SUVs.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Hannah Keshishian, a leading analyst in the Automotive sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

In order to evolve, automakers will need to find their space as a lifestyle brand and start marketing as such. Regardless of gender, race, income or education level, consumers view their relationship with brands very differently as opposed to how they did years ago. For automakers looking to build brand loyalty and deeply connect with their consumers, a change in marketing strategy is possible due to the fact that consumers are shopping more based on their personal identities than ever before Hannah Keshishian
Automotive Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • What automakers want to know
            • Consumers have developed strong relationships with brands
              • Where automakers can succeed
                • Look to unconventional partnerships to tap into new markets
                  • Consumers are looking to deeply connect with brands
                    • What it means
                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                      • Global negations will continue to affect vehicle prices
                        • Consumer confidence maintains six-month high
                        • Market Factors

                          • Rising gas prices to affect how consumers view vehicles
                            • Figure 1: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2009 – January 2019
                          • Consumer confidence hits six-month high
                            • Figure 2: Consumer confidence index, January 2009 – January 2019
                          • Rising vehicle costs dependent on foreign relations
                          • Vehicle Sales by Brand

                            • Total new vehicle sales by brand
                              • Figure 3: US auto sales by brand performance, May 2019
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Meet the new Detroit auto company to take on Tesla
                              • Audi looks forward to a future lineup with more EVs
                                • GM and Michelin disrupt the tire market
                                • What’s Happening?

                                  • The EV market is preparing to enter the truck segment
                                    • What would the FCA and Renault merger it have meant for the auto industry?
                                      • Audi cuts models to make room for EVs
                                      • What’s Struggling?

                                        • EVs “clean” brand perception comes under attack once more
                                          • Ford to cut workforce by 10%
                                            • Despite a seemingly losing battle, Honda fights for sedans
                                            • What’s Next?

                                              • GM and Michelin plan to bring airless tires to passenger cars by 2024
                                                • BMW introduces new Curved Display, soon other brands will follow
                                                  • New automaker Rivian to step in to electric vehicle market
                                                      • Figure 4: Rivian Twitter, June 2019
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Consumers form brand perceptions with little influence from family or friends
                                                      • “American made” no longer carries weight with consumers
                                                        • According to consumers, auto brand perception overlaps by attribute
                                                          • Female car buyers are more likely to show brand loyalty
                                                            • Toyota needs to work on its presence as a technologically driven auto brand
                                                            • Influencing Brand Perceptions

                                                              • Price remains most influential factor in brand perceptions, followed by previous experience
                                                                • Figure 5: Top influential factors, April 2019
                                                              • Recent vehicle experience more influential on brand purchase than ownership
                                                                • Figure 6: Next vehicle brand consideration, by purchase intent, April 2019
                                                              • Previous experience less influential for consumers about to purchase a vehicle
                                                                • Figure 7: Previous experience as purchase influencer, by purchase intent, April 2019
                                                              • Consumer perception less likely to be influenced by outside opinions
                                                                • Figure 8: Family and friends brand influence, April 2019
                                                              • Gas mileage more important when purchasing, not a significant factor in brand perception
                                                                • Figure 9: Gas mileage as perception influence, April 2019
                                                              • Older generations more likely to consider previous brand experience
                                                                • Figure 10: Perception by previous brand experience, by generation, April 2019
                                                                • Figure 11: Perception by previous brand experience, by age, April 2019
                                                            • Brand Perceptions

                                                              • Consumers group brands by attributes
                                                                  • Figure 12: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Brand perceptions, April 2019
                                                                • Domestic brands perceived higher by younger generations
                                                                    • Figure 13: Auto brand attributes, by age, April 2019
                                                                  • Consumers view foreign brands as safer, higher quality and more affordable
                                                                      • Figure 14: Auto brand attributes, by foreign vs domestic, April 2019
                                                                      • Figure 15: Chevrolet Emoji Press Release, June 2015
                                                                      • Figure 16: Ford, Tough Has More Fun, March 2019
                                                                      • Figure 17: Rural brand attribute associations, April 2019
                                                                    • Toyota is still popular among consumers, but perceived as being technologically behind
                                                                      • Figure 18: Toyota brand attribute associations, April 2019
                                                                      • Figure 19: Toyota brand attribute associations, April 2019
                                                                    • Chevrolet is the most trusted brand by young consumers
                                                                      • Figure 20: Chevrolet brand attribute associations, by generation, April 2019
                                                                    • Kia unable to shed perception as a “budget” brand
                                                                        • Figure 21: Kia attribute associations, April 2019
                                                                    • Female Consumer Brand Perceptions

                                                                      • Why do female consumers matter?
                                                                        • Women highly likely to consider safety as a top influencer, despite low ownership rates of advanced safety technology
                                                                          • Figure 22: Top brand perception influencer, by gender, April 2019
                                                                          • Figure 23: Autonomous vehicle technology ownership, by gender, April 2019
                                                                        • Women slightly more likely to be brand loyal
                                                                            • Figure 24: Attitudinal statements about car brands, by gender, April 2019
                                                                            • Figure 25: Equinox Gym x Athleta, Hosted Event, April 2019
                                                                          • Women view foreign auto brands as higher quality
                                                                              • Figure 26: Auto brand quality, by foreign or domestic automaker, April 2019
                                                                              • Figure 27: Auto brand quality, by foreign or domestic automaker, April 2019
                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                              • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                    • Terms
                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                      • Short-term consumers more likely to consider celebrity and influencer marketing
                                                                                          • Figure 28: Celebrity and online influencer, by purchase intent brand perceptions, April 2019
                                                                                          • Figure 29: Celebrity and online influencer, by millennial purchase intent brand perceptions, April 2019
                                                                                        • Asian consumers are best target for brand conquesting
                                                                                            • Figure 30: Consideration of multiple brands, by race, April 2019
                                                                                          • Black consumers show high intent of buying American-made vehicles
                                                                                              • Figure 31: Consideration of foreign or domestic automaker, by race, April 2019
                                                                                            • Asian consumers believe that their car brand is a direct reflection of self
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Self-perception of auto brands owned, April 2019
                                                                                              • Black consumers perceive American-made vehicles to be of higher quality
                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Auto brand quality by foreign or domestic automaker, April 2019
                                                                                              • Appendix – Foreign vs Domestic

                                                                                                • What makes an automaker foreign as opposed to domestic?