Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hyundai, Kia and Ford brands see the biggest long-term gains

Toyota's perceived quality score rose more than two percent over the last six months closing the gap with leading mainstream brand Honda, and Lexus once again reigned supreme among luxury brands, according to the Fall 2011 Perceived Quality Study from ALG, an independent subsidiary of TrueCar, Inc., and the industry benchmark for residual values and depreciation data.

"The continued rally of Toyota is evidence of the brand's widespread reputation for quality and ownership loyalty. This is the third straight survey where Toyota has shown relatively strong growth. If this trend continues, the brand might soon regain the top spot from Honda in the mainstream category," states Eric Lyman, Vice President, Residual Value Solutions, ALG.

Twice a year, ALG surveys approximately 3,000-4,000 U.S. consumers to gauge perceptions of a number of mainstream and luxury automotive brands for its PQS. According to Lyman, "Consumer perception can dramatically affect a brand's reputation and sales. A strong perception can result in greater sales while a negative perception can drive a consumer away from a brand's entire lineup."

Of the 23 brands included in the Fall 2008 survey that remain in the survey today, Ford brands, Kia and Hyundai have racked up the biggest long-term gains. Hyundai led the group, moving from 18th place to 9th place, a gain of nine spots over the past three years. Ford Cars and Ford Trucks moved from 15th to 7th and 8th to 3rd place, respectively, and lastly, Kia jumped from 23rd place in 2008 (last place among those still in the survey) to 18th place.

"These three automakers have made impressive efforts to improve brand perception and we can see that it has truly paid off in the mainstream rankings. The perception of where luxury brands stand in relation to each other seems to be solidly cemented in the minds of consumers, owing to the consistency of the luxury rankings," adds Lyman.

Additional highlights from the survey include: in the luxury category, Lexus topped the charts with an overall PQS of 82.4 (out of 100) followed by Mercedes (79.8 and -3.9 percent vs. the Spring 2011 Study), BMW (78.4; -2.5 percent), Porsche (76.7; -4 percent) and Acura (76.3; -2.6 percent). New to the survey is Alfa Romeo, scheduled to reenter the US market in 2013, which came in at the bottom of the luxury rankings, but as a brand is relatively unknown among US consumers. Honda (78.9; -2.5 percent) once again led the mainstream brands and Toyota (75.3; +2.3 percent) continued to rebound from the product recalls from early last year. Ford Trucks (68.7; -3.8 percent), Subaru (68.3; -3.5 percent), and Nissan (67.6; -3.4 percent) round out the top five.

About ALG

Based in Santa Barbara, California, ALG is a leading provider of data and consulting services to the automotive industry. ALG publishes the "Automotive Lease Guide" -- the standard for residual value projections in North America, and has been forecasting automotive residual values for over 45 years in both the U.S. and Canadian markets.

About TrueCar, Inc.

TrueCar, Inc. is an innovative automotive marketplace that benefits both buyers and sellers by providing a significantly better customer experience while helping qualified dealer partners to gain incremental market share and reduce costs. As a transparent, visual publisher of new car transaction data, price reports help both dealers and consumers to agree on the parameters of a fair deal by providing an accurate, comprehensive and simple understanding of what others actually paid for the identically equipped new car over the last 30 days both locally and nationally.

TrueCar, Inc. works with a national network of over 5,000 Certified Dealers that provide up-front, no-haggle, competitive pricing to assist some of the nation's largest and most well respected membership and service organizations to meet the auto buying needs of their members and customers. These partnerships include American Express, AAA, USAA and more than 60 others. Collectively these audiences represent over 1M in-market customers each month.