YouGov: Chrysler Brand Opinion Way Up

ChryslerChrysler's doing wonders with media when it comes to the critical area of consumer perception. The Auburn Hills, Mich. automaker has improved all areas of its operations dramatically over the past two years, but the real task is turning consumer perception, which is about as nimble as an aircraft carrier in a gale. 

Evidently, Chrysler’s four new “we’re coming back” ads, which premiered recently, have added a lot of shove. YouGov BrandIndex says the company has the best potential car buyer perception since at least early 2009.

The firm, which polls the market daily, says Chrysler is riding a wave of positive coverage from January, with brand sales rising 44%, and from that month's unveiling of the new Dodge Dart compact at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Although it has generated tons of online buzz, YouGov says the "Halftime in America" ad cooled Chrysler’s auto buyer perception for a second. 

But the new ads, which have a first-person narrative format showing real-Americans-struggling vignettes, have struck a chord with adults planning to purchase a car in the next 12 months. The firm says Chrysler not only achieved its best scores with car shoppers, but got the highest opinion numbers for the domestic auto sector in three years.

The firm says the domestic averages -- which include Ford, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Lincoln, Buick, Dodge, and GM -- are garnered from its Buzz score, which asks respondents: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” The scores, which range from 100 to -100, are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive, with a zero score meaning equal positive and negative feedback. 

After starting 2012 with a 6 buzz score, Chrysler reached 16 at the end of January, a few points below the domestic average. But YouGov says Chrysler had only come this close to the sector average once before in the last three years (mid-March last year.)

Right after the “Halftime” ad aired in the Super Bowl, the buzz score drifted back down to 6 by the middle of March. Two weeks later, Chrysler unveiled the four first-person narrated ads for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram truck brands, via Portland, Ore.-based Wieden + Kennedy. 

Consequently, Chrysler's score jumped to 17, making it the first time it broke past the domestic auto sector average of 16 and the highest buzz Chrysler has received since at least March 2009.

Before mid-Feb. 2011, Chrysler’s buzz score had been almost entirely in negative sentiment, reaching a bottom of -41 in June 2009.

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