Toyota tops car brands in U.S. consumer perception: survey

Fri Feb 1, 2013 12:05am EST
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DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T again topped an annual U.S. consumer survey on brand perception released on Friday as all the top automakers' scores rose from last year.

Ford Motor Co F.N, Honda Motor Co Ltd 7267.T, General Motors Co's GM.N Chevrolet, Daimler AG's DAIGn.DE Mercedes-Benz and Volvo 0175.HK rounded out the top six, which was unchanged from last year, according to Consumer Reports, the influential consumer magazine that conducted the survey last month.

"The brand leaders have a really strong hold on the mind-share of the consumer," Jeff Bartlett, deputy auto editor online for Consumer Reports, said in an interview.

"We're seeing much less space between brands. In other words, consumers seem to think many excel in the areas that matter most to them and it's harder for brands to stand out."

For example, he said safety is very important to consumers, but most cars are pretty safe.

The survey comes less than a month after the Detroit auto show, during which the industry showed off its latest vehicles and concept cars.

Bartlett said the survey was "one window into what consumers are thinking" and is often a lagging indicator influenced by news headlines or neighborhood experiences.

Each of the top 10 saw perception scores rise in the survey. It is based on how consumers perceive each brand in seven categories: quality, safety, value, performance, design, technology and green attributes. The first two categories remain the top buying factors, the magazine said.

Toyota led with a score of 133 points, up about 11 points from last year. Ford, Honda and Chevy saw their total perception scores respectively rise about 2 points to 117.8 points, about 26 points to 114 and more than 7 points to 94.4.   Continued...

Toyota's Corolla Fielder (L) and Corolla Axio are reflected in a Toyota Forte's logo at the company's headquarters in Tokyo November 5, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon