Today's vehicles are more powerful, more efficient and safer than ever before. In fact, today's car buyer would be hard pressed to spend his or her money on a genuinely bad vehicle. But those overall improvements may have also led consumers to believe there are no real differences between the various products offered by the world's major automakers. According to the Consumer Reports 2012 Car-Brand Perception Survey, Toyota, Ford, Honda and Chevrolet have all seen their scores drop by double digits compared to last year.

The survey asks consumers to rate brands across seven categories. Consumer Reports says that by combining those categories, the organization can get a handle on how each brand is perceived in the marketplace.

This year, Toyota continued to lead in the survey, though its persistent recalls saw the brand's perception fall by 17 points this year. Ford, Honda and BMW all saw their perception scores plummet more than 20 points. The results may indicate consumers are seeing fewer differences between automakers as products continue to improve. While that's good news for smaller automakers like Hyundai, Kia and Subaru, larger names in the industry should be worried. Head over to Consumer Reports for the full report.

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