Most-Loved Cars? Tesla S Wins

A director at Saatchi & Saatchi wrote a book about it, marketers dream of it, and product designers aim for it. It's that ephemeral little thing called love. And in the automotive playground, the vehicles are the brands, and the love is most based on the tangible. If your vehicle is well loved, you have built-in brand equity.

Strategic Vision has that golden list just out -- the “Most Loved Vehicles in America.” The fact that the Tesla S is the most-loved car in America proves that volume doesn't equal passion.

Darrel Edwards, president of Strategic Vision, said the firm did about a decade of research on how to tease out the emotional connections people have to their cars. "We discovered that the natural language was in a ‘Love-Hate’ context with nuances in-between,” he said in the report. "The industry is mature enough to actually accept ‘True Love’ as a core comprehensive, interactive and discriminating emotional response.”

The rankings are based on scores on something called the "Edwards Commitment Scale" where one is "hate it," two is “failure,” three is “unsatisfactory,” four is “satisfactory,” five is “excellent,” 6 is “delightful,” and 7 is "love it." The firm says that in addition to the automotive sector, it uses the scale in travel, hospitality, medical, and education, plus paid studies for Fortune 100 companies. 

Said Edwards: “There is tremendous room for improvement among vehicles with truck platforms." The firm says Tesla got 852 points on a 1,000-point scale, calculated from individual scores on specific vehicle attributes and commitment, overall satisfaction, total top emotional responses, proposed repurchase loyalty and actual repurchase loyalty.

The Lexus ES 350 was one of the two most-loved near luxury cars, but the other wasn't another entry car from another luxury brand; it was a high-end car from a mass brand: Hyundai's Genesis. And the most-loved luxury car wasn't from a luxury brand either. It was Hyundai's Equus. 

The most-loved micro car is the Chevrolet Spark; small car is Nissan Sentra and Dodge Dart; small multifunctional car is Hyundai Elantra; Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius C for alternative powertrain; Hyundai Sonata and VW Jetta/Passat for mid-size; Dodge Charger for full-size car. The most-loved luxury SUV was Cadillac's Escalade ESV. This is probably good news for the brand, as it is coming out with the 2015 Escalade this spring.  

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