DETROIT Feb 1 Toyota Motor Corp again
topped an annual U.S. consumer survey on brand perception
released on Friday as all the top automakers' scores rose from
Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co Ltd, General
Motors Co's Chevrolet, Daimler AG's
Mercedes-Benz and Volvo rounded out the top six, which
was unchanged from last year, according to Consumer Reports, the
influential consumer magazine that conducted the survey last
"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.
Rounding out the top 10 after Mercedes (77.4 points) and
Volvo (76.5 points) were GM's Cadillac (66.2 points), BMW
(65.6 points), Chrysler's Dodge brand (55.8
points) and Tesla (54.8 points).
Tesla, relying largely on its new Model S all-electric
sedan, gained about 13 points and Dodge's 23-point gain bumped
Toyota's Lexus brand to 11th from 9th last year.
The bottom five in the survey were BMW's Mini brand (10
points), Fiat (8 points), Chrysler's Ram (7 points) and
Mitsubishi and Toyota's Scion (each at 6 points).