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Consumer Reports 2010 Car Brand Perception Survey results just published

After one of the worst years ever for the auto industry, which automakers do you think came out of 2009 with an unsullied reputation? Consumer Reports just published its 2010 Car Brand Perception Survey and the results are a bit perplexing. Naming the manufacturers that slipped last year would probably be a piece of cake, but try to guess which ones came out ahead of their 2008 rankings.

Before you try to guess, here are the ground rules. According to CR, "The scores reflect how consumers perceive each brand in seven categories: Safety, quality, value, performance, design/style, technology/innovation, and environmentally friendly/green." Further, "The scores reflect consumers' total perception level of a brand across those categories, and not the actual qualities of the brand's individual vehicles."

The overall top brands in the rankings were the usual suspects for the most part. Toyota was tops (guess CR readers haven't heard about that sticky gas pedal thing), followed by America's sole avoider of bankruptcy, Ford, then Honda. Somewhat surprisingly, Chevrolet placed fourth – bankruptcy be damned. Carmakers improving by the largest percentage over last year were an equally mixed bag. Chevy and Ford improved quite a bit, but the company posting the biggest gain was Subaru, which mirrored the success it had on the showroom floor in 2009.

Perhaps even more interesting were the bottom brands. Not surprisingly in these green-leaning times, Hummer scored the lowest as a brand, followed closely by GM problem-child, Saab. The Swedish firm was actually tied, though, with Ford's forgotten brand, Mercury, and shockingly, recent Ford divestiture, Mazda. Dropping the most this year were luxury brands like Porsche, Lexus and Lincoln. How Porsche and Lexus dropped so much is a bit of a mystery, but Cadillac droppng 15 points was a real head-scratcher considering the success of the CTS.

The complete survey is an interesting read, as are the full rankings. The top scorers in each category is particularly revealing. Before you click the source link below, though, try to guess where your favorite brands placed. You might be as surprised as we were.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      My guess is Chevy's jump can be attributed to the Malibu.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Equinox and Uplander are no slouches either.

        Heck, it could be down to something like the fact that every rental car is a Chrysler now. Often when you get a rental car it starts out life as a stripper and on top of that is beat to heck, so when you get in it you don't get a favorable impression of the marque. Fewer Chevy rentals could paradoxically lead to better Chevy perception.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I totally meant Traverse. Haha, Uplander. Garbage.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was gonna say, Uplander!?!?!! The only complaint about the Traverse is the rear end. I think it looks too boring. idk.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?

        Uplander??!! PLEASE tell me you meant Traverse.

        I think the dustbuster Lumina APV was better than Uplander.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My poor, poor (non-creepy smile 2008) Mazda 3...it's a great car! I don't see why people's perception of Mazda is so bad. Maybe it's the smile on ever car? The fact that they've been using the same tagline forever? hmmm.

      Also, Dear Toyota,

      Really? How are you still on top? Please remove yourself until you have desirable product (FT-86? please?).

      Thank you,
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is sad. I've had 4 Mazdas now, and they've all been great.

        Oh well, I guess it will just have to be my little secret.

        I tried to find, but is this a survey of the general population, or CR subscribers only?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is not CR's opinion bur rather the CR readers opinion.
      • 5 Years Ago
      most useless list ever
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cue the "CR is biased" remarks... Anyways, I would definitely agree that the domestics are getting better in quality. The recognition is deserved, IMO. Subaru too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Subaru has always built wierd-looking high-quality cars, but they've not sold them widely enough outside the snow states for people to really pay attention on a national level. With their recent moves towards larger mass-market volumes, with the advertising space and budget to match, more people are getting to know how good of a car Suby actually makes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So a car that wants to kill you from a manufacturer that doesn't give a damn is CR's top choice???
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure Toyota's recent pledge to add a braking-throttle override on all of their vehicles by the end of 2010 has to do with the floormats as well?


        As I always suspected, the floormats issue was brought up solely to deflect blame from the actual, much more serious problem. Not really surprising though, any maufacturer is going to try to want to put the best face they can on any bad press they might receive.

        But, to continually believe that the floormats were the issue with so many other stories pointing to other causes is simply being ignorant.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You conspiracy theorists are hilarious. Do you any of you morons have any proof it's a software issue? NO. Keep telling yourself it's a software issue. If it WERE a software issue, you would see it among millions and millions of Toyotas, which.... well, HAS YET TO HAPPEN. Do you dolts also realize that several complaints have been filed for Ford vehicles with stuck accelerators? Google it. EVERY manufacturer has problems. Remember the Ford Explorer fiasco that killed 270 people?

        Bottom line is every god d@mn thing on the internet is speculation, and unless you've experienced it yourself, you don't know jack.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Matt: I figured; I can read and properly comprehend text.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you're still believeing that it's a floor mat problem, then I can only conclude that the kool-aid must be on sale this week. I think it's pretty clear that it's a software / ECM problem.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is a survey, the score is based on the public's perception of the brands and their cars.

        I do believe however (not verified) that it is limited to the CR readership.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You fool. As much as I dislike defending Toyota...you ignorance cannot go unanswered.

        -First, the floor mat issue (as I assume you are talking about by your remark), was NOT Toyota's fault. A floor mat--designed for a completely different vehicle--was inside that Lexus. It was put there by a negligent dealer. Had the PROPER floor mat been in that Lexus, the car would not have crashed. And those FACTS are undeniable.

        -Second, this study is NOT CR's opinion...it is the opinion of the people in the USA...what the people PERCEIVE as a quality brand. CR just compiled the data. If you want to get mad at anyone, get mad at your fellow citizens...as it's THEIR opinion.
        • 5 Years Ago

        It isn't proof that it's a software issue, but it's proof that the floormats aren't the only problem.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good to see that the Domestics perception is starting to turn for the better.....it's about time (and about 10 years too late).

      But I am puzzled why people perceive Mercury/Lincoln as a 'worse' brand than Ford. Under the unique skin, they are all the same cars (and trucks). It's not like there are only quality issues with the Lincoln or Mercury.....because IF there were, the problems would be present in Ford...especially with the volume Ford pushes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How many Toyota recalls will it take to dampen the public's view of them? Holy crap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would agree with Honda......but not so much Toyota.

        BUT...I am not delusional...I drive a domestic and think the quality is outstanding. Could it be better...yes...but the Toyota that competes directly with what I drive needs improvements in those same areas as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well a normal person doesn't obsessively read car magazines, so reliability is based on experiences of their friends and family and what they see on the roads.
        And as far as cars go, and I mean cars and not trucks here, outside of the areas near Detroit you really don't see 10+ year old American cars driving around but there's plenty of Camrys.
        Also, while the pedal recall thing may hurt Toyota's reputation for safety even if someone read about it, it's not going to change their perception of how long a Camry will last. Even the rust recall for the trucks doesn't really hurt the image of the cars since there's no perception of Toyota cars being more likely to rust than American cars and this makes sense since the parts that rusted out on the trucks aren't car components.
        And even for Toyota truck buyers the frame rusting issue's reliability hit is countered by the fact that old Tacomas already had a huge reputation already for awesome reliability aside from rust, which is why those trucks still have the highest resale values out there.
        Perceptions about reliability by definition take a LONG time to create, since the only way people can know about long term reliability is to wait years and years. So your image for long term reliability is really based on the products you put out there a decade
        So while 90's Camrys and Corollas represent Toyota out there, Chevy gets represented by 90's Luminas which frankly had a ton of powertrain issues.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota, yeah. Of course... people around me are Toyota fanboys, but they don't know cars.

      I wonder when they are going to quit this whole "American cars suck" stigma too.
      • 5 Years Ago

      I can't understand how Porsche is on there but Audi/VW aren't? Am I not seeing the whole list, anywhere?

      As a previous comment already stated, most useless list ever.
      • 5 Years Ago
      John, a while ago Subrau had a problem with their vehicles which was a recall with premature rusting in the undercarriage. It looks that the Japanese auto maker cut down on the electra-plating of the vehicle body. Electra-plating is used on vehicle bodies so there is no need for rust proofing companies.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is what other people call "willful blindness" + "Stockholm syndrome".
      Perception will probably catch up to reality in next year's study, considering the massive recall was towards the end of 2009.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And you suppose the 4+ million recalls Ford had last year won't affect them at all? Just Toyota eh? No other car company? None?
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