As Americans lift themselves out of an economic slump, findings from the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study show consumers’ perceptions of automotive brands continue to climb. More than 30 auto brands were assessed this year, and both the luxury and full line auto categories improved. These are among the findings based on the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Brand Equity Index, which is comprised of three key factors: Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration.
Mercedes-Benz is the Luxury Automotive Brand of the Year for the third year running, edging out BMW. Findings from the 25th annual study show that, overall, luxury automotive brands saw EQ scores increase.
“After hitting the brakes on spending during the height of the recession, consumers have re-entered the automotive market in 2013 with a pent up demand for luxury brands,” explains Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive. “Brand equity for almost half of the luxury automotive brands measured is at all-time study highs.”
Other brands that continue to be ranked above the luxury category average include Lexus, Acura and Infiniti. In addition, Porsche, which is measured for the first time in 2013, ranks above the average, while Audi moves ahead of the category average for 2013.
“This is a clear indicator that while consumers may postpone purchases, the perceived value of high quality luxury autos actually increased, as demand did not go away and other luxury models closed the gap on Mercedes-Benz,” Chadsey goes on to say.
The study also shows that full line auto brands have made significant gains. As the top four full line automotive brands continue to vie for Brand of the Year status, Toyota moves out front for the first time since 2010 to become the 2013 Full Line Automotive Brand of the Year.
“Over the last nine years, Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet and Ford have all fought for the top spot, and each has claimed it at least once,” says Chadsey.
Toyota has been the most consistently top ranked brand in the study’s recent years, capturing the top spot five out of the last nine years. “Toyota’s strategy of listening to its owners, fast response, accountability and transparency in communication is a textbook case of brand management,” comments Chadsey. “This, coupled with strong demand for quality, value and fuel economy, finds Toyota aligned strongly with consumer desires.”
Of the 16 full line automotive brands measured, only five rank above the category average. Behind Toyota, Honda, last year’s top ranked brand, comes in second, with Chevrolet, Ford and Nissan rounding out those above the category average.
ONLINE AUTO SHOPPING
For Americans considering a new luxury or full line automobile, the shopping process has to begin somewhere – and for many that somewhere is online. It has never been easier for Americans to shop for automobiles, with continued strong performance by Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com), which once again is at the top of its category as the 2013 Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year.
“KBB benefits from strong name recognition, top of mind awareness and familiarity as the ‘go-to’ site for shopping,” offers Chadsey. “Additionally, KBB remains a thought leader in auto markets through publishing its own research and automotive awards.”
To learn more about likely automotive buyers, check out the Audience Interests & Intent report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.[Source: "2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) Study." Harris Interactive. 7 May 2013. Web. 9 May 2013.]