Chevy, Harley-Davidson, Ford Rank High In Brand Intimacy

Auto brands are doing a good job connecting with customers, according to MBLM.

Chevrolet topped the automotive industry, followed by Harley-Davidson and Ford. The remaining brands in the top 10 were: Mercedes, BMW, Jeep, Toyota, Honda, GMC and Audi.

Chevrolet ranked first among both women and men. It was also the top brand among consumers with incomes under $100,000. The brand jumped in performance this year with a quotient score of 62.5, up from 48.5 the previous year. Nearly one-quarter of users stated that they “couldn't live without” the brand, and 16% were willing to pay 20% more for Chevrolet, compared with 13% for the industry average. 

Nearly half of Chevrolet’s users also noted that they felt an immediate emotional connection to the brand. Demographically, the brand performed better with males, and those at the lower-income scale and in the 45–54 age range.



Honda ranked number one for those making over $100,000. Jeep was the top brand for millennials, while older consumers preferred Harley-Davidson. BMW and Jeep dropped in the industry rankings since last year, while Harley-Davidson and Ford improved their positions.

The automotive industry ranks second out of the 15 industries studied in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2019 Study. Brand intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds consumers form with the brands they use and love. The media and entertainment industry topped the study for the second year in a row.

The study shows that brands ranked high for intimacy significantly outperform the top brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P indices in both revenue and profit over the past 10 years. 

“We know consumers identify with their car brands and have long-lasting, multi-sensory relationships with them,” stated Mario Natarelli, managing partner, MBLM. “However, there are surprising performances in the U.S. -- especially domestic brands that continue to outperform their foreign rivals.”

Automotive had an average Brand Intimacy Quotient of 46.4, which was well above the cross-industry average of 31.0.  Fulfillment, which is related to performance, was the characteristic most associated with the category, and Toyota was the top automotive brand for fulfillment.

One area in which the industry can improve is in actively encouraging customer engagement. As they grapple with ride sharing and autonomous and environmentally friendly vehicles, large manufacturers like Chevrolet must continue to build and leverage the bonds with their users to retain them as they try to transform their business and products, according to MBLM.

During 2018, MBLM with Praxis Research Partners conducted an online quantitative survey among 6,200 consumers in the U.S. (3,000), Mexico (2,000), and the United Arab Emirates (1,200). Participants were respondents who were screened for age (18 to 64 years of age) and annual household income ($35,000 or more) in the U.S. and socioeconomic levels in Mexico and the UAE. Quotas were established to ensure that the sample mirrored census data for age, gender, income/socioeconomic level, and region. To read a more detailed description of MBLM’s approach, visit its Methodology page.

1 comment about "Chevy, Harley-Davidson, Ford Rank High In Brand Intimacy".
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  1. Ron Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, October 2, 2019 at 9:03 p.m.

    Sorry, but I find brand intimacy to be a questionable concept and one that would be very difficult to quantify. I don't believe any of Chevy's top fans would really spend 20% more for a Chevy. 

    Some consumers may have an emotional tie to a given product or brand, but I suspect that is pretty rare.

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