Subaru won big among the non-luxury brands in this year’s Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards, including winning Best Overall, Most Trusted and Best Performance Brand.
The 2016 Brand Image Awards, based on annual new-car buyer perception data, recognize automakers’ outstanding achievements in creating and maintaining brand attributes that capture the attention and enthusiasm of the new-vehicle buying public. Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers.
“The classic saying, ‘perception is reality,’ rings true with the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards, as more than 12,000 in-market new-car shoppers have voiced their opinions about today’s automakers to determine this year’s award winners,” said Hwei-Lin Oetken, vice president of strategic insights for Kelley Blue Book, in a release. “With strong product lineups and compelling marketing communications coming from auto manufacturers, consumers are more influenced than ever to take interest in a brand, ultimately affecting their vehicle purchase decisions.”
There has been an interesting shift in consumer perception of Subaru over the last few years, Oetken says. The automaker won their first-ever Brand Image Awards last year, and now this year has swept the major categories of Best Overall Brand, Most Trusted Brand and Best Performance Brand.
Honda previously dominated the Best Overall Brand category from 2013 to 2015. This year, Subaru secured the highest average scores among all 12 Brand Watch factors, including affordability, driving comfort, driving performance, durability/reliability, exterior styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, prestige/sophistication, reputation, ruggedness, safety and technology (factors listed in alphabetical order). Strong consumer perception of the Outback and Forester helped drive Subaru’s success in earning the top honor among all automakers.
Lexus captured the Best Overall Luxury Brand title from last year’s winner Porsche by obtaining the top average Brand Watch factor scores among all luxury makes and being highly regarded with its strong lineup, driven primarily by its popular ES and RX models. Claiming the top spot among truck shoppers for the third year in a row, Ford won the Best Overall Truck Brand category. Ford has won seven out of the eight times that Kelley Blue Book has announced this award, with only Toyota outranking it in 2013.
The 2016 Brand Image Awards are based on consumer automotive perception data from Kelley Blue Book Strategic Insights’ (previously Market Intelligence’s) Brand Watch study. Brand Watch is an online brand and model perception tracking study tapping into 12,000+ in-market new-vehicle shoppers annually on Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. The highly comprehensive study offers insight into how shoppers perceive important factors driving their purchase decisions, and captures brand/model familiarity and loyalty among new-car shoppers.