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Automakers work very hard at the branding process, which takes years and years of effort to achieve. For instance, when a consumer hears Porsche, he or she likely sthink of sports cars and iconic design principles -- despite the fact that the German brand sells plenty of SUVs, too. And when a brand starts to get a negative image, it can take years to overcome that bad stigma -- just ask Ford. So, with all of this in mind, Kelley Blue Book has announced the winners of its 2008 Brand Image Awards, which are based on consumer perception studies of which KBB keeps track.
The big winners this year are Toyota for "Best Overall Interior Design", BMW for "Best Overall Exterior Design" and Mercedes-Benz for "Best Overall Prestige Brand". We would have expected Audi to do well in the interior design category, but these awards are not based on reality, but perception instead. For a complete run-down of the awards, we've included the press release after the break.

[Source: Kelley Blue Book]


Kelley Blue Book Announces Winners of 2008 Brand Image Awards

Awards Honor Top New-Auto Brands Based on Consumer Perception Data from KBB
Marketing Research

Kelley Blue Book, the leading provider of new- and used-vehicle
information, today announced the winners of the 2008 Kelley Blue Book Brand
Image Awards. The Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards recognize automakers'
outstanding achievements in creating and maintaining brand attributes that
capture the attention and enthusiasm of the new-vehicle buying public.

The 2008 Brand Image Awards are based on consumer automotive perception
data from Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research's Brand Watch study. Brand
Watch is an online brand perception tracking study tapping into 12,000+
in-market new-vehicle shoppers annually on kbb.com. The highly
comprehensive Brand Watch report provides a detailed look at in-market
new-vehicle shoppers' perceptions of brands, and important factors driving
their purchase decisions while they are in the midst of the shopping
process. The results of an entire year of Brand Watch research and consumer
opinions determine the 2008 Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Award winners.

Kelley Blue Book handed out 17 awards to automotive brands in the
following categories during a gala event this evening amidst the
festivities of the New York International Auto Show Media Preview Week in
New York City:


Best Interior Design -- Non-Luxury Sedan/Coupe/Hatchback: Toyota
Best Interior Design -- Luxury Sedan/Coupe/Hatchback: Lexus
Best Interior Design -- Sports Car/Convertible: Mercedes-Benz
Best Interior Design -- Truck: Chevrolet
Best Interior Design -- Non-Luxury SUV: Toyota
Best Interior Design -- Luxury SUV: Lexus
Best Interior Design -- Minivan: Honda

Best Exterior Design -- Non-Luxury Sedan/Coupe/Hatchback: Chrysler
Best Exterior Design -- Luxury Sedan/Coupe/Hatchback: BMW
Best Exterior Design -- Sports Car/Convertible: Porsche
Best Exterior Design -- Truck: Chevrolet
Best Exterior Design -- Non-Luxury SUV: Ford
Best Exterior Design -- Luxury SUV: Mercedes-Benz
Best Exterior Design -- Minivan: Toyota

Best Overall Interior Design: Toyota
Best Overall Exterior Design: BMW
Best Overall Prestige Brand: Mercedes-Benz

"The Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards honor the automakers that
stand out in the ongoing heated battle for consumer perception," said Rick
Wainschel, vice president of marketing research and brand communications
for Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com. "While specific vehicle models may come
and go over the years, the power of the brand is lasting in the minds of

The most prestigious honors from Brand Watch include Best Interior and
Exterior Styling, as well as Best Overall Prestige Brand. Based on the
results of the Brand Watch study, consumers rated Mercedes-Benz as Best
Overall Prestige Brand. With the company's long history of combining rich
interiors with distinguished exterior styling, the brand is known not only
as a preeminent luxury automaker, but also one of the foremost luxury
brands in the world.

BMW captured the award for having Best Overall Exterior Design. Its
once-controversial new designs are now winning legions of fans, and the
company has maintained a family resemblance across the board while allowing
each model to take the design theme in a slightly different direction.
Toyota garnered Best Overall Interior Design with its vehicles' simple,
familiar and consistently gratifying fit, finish and materials used across
its vehicle line-up.

"Understanding brand perception is important to gauging vehicle value,"
said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market
analyst of Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com. "Because brand is so important to
consumers as they decide which vehicles they are considering and,
ultimately, what vehicles they will buy, it is important to study their
perceptions of various brands, the attributes that contribute to those
perceptions, and how those perceptions shift over time."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      well, they are based on reality - of what actual people buying cars think about them.

      Pretty much exactly the same as JD Powers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Apparently most consumers know three brands: Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Chevrolet. They then act accordingly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "these awards are not based on reality"

      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks for the laughs, KBB.
      • 7 Years Ago
      BullTurds, Kelly blue book is a crock.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Audi should've won both exterior and interior design...

      Goes to show you that: perception ∩ reality = ∅
        • 7 Years Ago

        I don't know about Audi, but E46 BMW's in Germany didn't even come with cup holders. Not sure if this is still true of the E92's.

        Germans take driving seriously, unlike us Americans. Personally, I think that's a great attitude to take when operating a 2 ton killing machine. That kind of serious attitude is also why they have so many sections of the Autobahn without speed limits, yet still have a lower number of accidents than other countries.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Audi for best interior in the US - the two cup holders are under the arm rest and in the US where cup holders are favord the A4 interior becomes useless - how can it win an award.

        again - it could be perception, but I totally will knock the A4's interior for being designed by someone that's retarded, especiall as far as the american market is concerned
          • 7 Years Ago
          I have an A4 and the first cup holder is 100% freely accessible. It's the second cup hodler that gets in the way of the arm rest. So I seriously doubt the 1 cup holder issue faults an entire interior. At least it doesn't to me. The Audi easily bests the BMW interior and there is no real comparission to Toyota or similar level cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      KBB misleads you in their car pricing. Why should their awards be any different?
      • 7 Years Ago
      What is perception really?

      What these "awards" show is the same trite crap my ex-boss was a huge proponent of and how stupidly consumerist our society is.

      The more we buy into it as a collective the further we distance ourselves from things designed with feeling. The brands that "won" are increasingly synonymous with banality.
      • 7 Years Ago
      " Best Exterior Design -- Non-Luxury Sedan/Coupe/Hatchback: Chrysler"

        • 7 Years Ago
        You know they would not win for interior design. On Kelly Blue Books website they said it was for the Crossfire, 300 and PT cruiser. I can go along with the Crossfire and the 300 but the PT?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I think Mazda should have won that category. The Mazda3 and 6 are great looking cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ..and they say that CHEVY has the best exterior truck design?? The Silverado is a brick.......Very little "design" involved there.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Would you rather it look like a turd, like the Tundra?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Matter of Opinion. Th Tundra is garbage, I like the F-series and Rams. The GMs are so squared off and oversized, dare I say exaggerated, it funny. I'm SURE it helps their gas mileage, too......at least Dodge TRYING to get them more aerodynamic.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Silverado/Sierra and the Nissan Titan are the only good-looking fullsize trucks nowadays.

        I'd give it to the Titan, but the GM twins ain't bad.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Goes to show just about anyone can give out an award. KBB should stick to "reality" and keep to what they do.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Japan interior all = cheap and cookie cutter ugly.

      As the writes states that perception IS reality but I have to question WHO thinks a toyota interior is great?

      bad plastic and cloth seats = great?

      the worst cars of europe have great interiors.

        • 7 Years Ago
        What the hell is wrong with cloth seats?

        Leather only gets good when you get into the $70k+ range. Leather in any other car is always bad-quality. Hey, it's hard and it sticks to my legs whenever it's hot out. And since I live in Texas, that's 2/3 of the year.

        I'd prefer velour, but it's almost impossible to get stock nowadays: you have to find aftermarket seat covers. Man, I miss the '80s. I remember growing up with my mom's 1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. I loved the velour seats. They were the only good things about that car; it was a complete crapbox otherwise.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I would not agree that it takes 80+ to get good leather. I've seen impressive leather on many euro cars and even great vinyl on some audi!

        Some of use prefer leather always as you prefer velor.

        Regardless toyota and most cars (short of Lexus and Infinity of late) make crazy, boring interiors...
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