IRVINE, Calif. — The 2014 Brand Image Award winners, based on annual new-car buyer perception data, were announced today by Kelley Blue Book. The firm’s 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. Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers.
"The classic saying 'perception is reality' falls true with the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards, as more than 12,000 in-market new-car shoppers have voiced their opinions about today's automakers," said Hwei-Lin Oetken, vice president of market intelligence for Kelley Blue Book. "With strong marketing communications coming from auto manufacturers and dealers, and the increased importance of peer reviews and ratings, consumers today are more influenced than ever to take interest in a brand, ultimately affecting their vehicle purchase decisions."
The following are this year’s winners in the nonluxury brand catregory:
- · Honda: Best Overall Brand
- · Honda: Most Trusted Brand
- · Kia: Best Value Brand
- · GMC: Most Refined Brand
- · MINI: Best Performance Brand
- · Chevrolet: Best Car Styling Brand
The following are this year’s honorees in the truck brand category:
- · Ford: Best Overall Truck Brand
Here are the winners in the luxury brand category:
- · Mercedes-Benz: Best Overall Luxury Brand
- · Lexus: Most Trusted Luxury Brand
- · Buick: Best Value Luxury Brand
- · Mercedes-Benz: Most Refined Luxury Brand
- · Porsche: Best Performance Luxury Brand
- · Jaguar: Best Car Styling Luxury Brand
Honda has earned the Best Overall Brand award two years running, securing the highest average scores among all 12 Brand Watch factors, including affordability, "cool" factor, driving comfort, driving performance, durability/reliability, exterior styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, prestige/sophistication, reputation, ruggedness and safety (listed in alphabetical order). Strong consumer perception of the Accord, Civic, CR-V and Odyssey helped drive Honda's success in earning the top honor among all automakers, according to the vehicle information site.
This year, Mercedes-Benz captured the Best Overall Luxury Brand title from 2013 winner BMW by obtaining the top average Brand Watch factor scores among all luxury makes and being highly regarded with its strong lineup and performance AMG variants.
Reclaiming the top spot among truck shoppers, Ford ousts last year's winner, Toyota, from the Best Overall Truck Brand category. Ford has won the category five out of six times Kelley Blue Book has announced this award. The F-150 and Super Duty F-250 and F-350 helped the manufacturer earn back the award for 2014, as truck shoppers ranked the brand highest among all other truck brands.
For three years in a row, Honda has earned the award for Most Trusted Brand, and for 2014, the Accord, Civic, CR-V and Odyssey supported the boost in Honda's scores. Meanwhile, Lexus held its ground as the Most Trusted Luxury Brand for the second consecutive year with help from the ES, IS, LX and RX models.
Kia earned its first-ever Brand Image Award for Best Value Brand, taking the crown from last year’s winner, Honda. Kia received high marks on affordability and fuel efficiency, primarily driven by the Optima, Rio, Soul and Forte models. Buick is a repeat winner for the Best Value Luxury Brand, and the manufacturer's entire lineup, including the LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, Enclave and Encore, has positively influenced car shoppers' perceptions.
"Kia has come a long way in the eyes of the consumer," said Arthur Henry, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "Once known only as an economy car with good gas mileage, the brand has evolved through product growth and maturity into a high-value brand. This is a similar path fellow import brands Honda and Toyota took in the 1970s. In fact, Kia edges out Honda this year for the Best Value Brand title."
GMC also earned its first Brand Image Award as the Most Refined Brand for 2014, with high ratings for comfort, interior layout and prestige/sophistication. Mercedes-Benz earned its second consecutive award in the luxury brand category, and historically has scored very high in prestige/sophistication since the inception of the Brand Image Awards in 2008.
MINI took home the Best Performance Brand award for the second year in a row. Driving up its score was the MINI Cooper, which earned high marks in the “cool” factor and driving performance factors. Like MINI, Porsche was a repeat winner as Best Performance Luxury Brand since 2010, earning strong ratings for a number of models in its lineup, including the 911, Cayman, Panamera and Cayenne.
Jaguar earned its first Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Award as 2014 Best Car Styling Luxury Brand for its attractive F-TYPE, XK, XF and XJ series, according to KBB, while Chevrolet reclaimed the Best Car Styling Brand title from last year's winner Ford.
"Chevrolet had a slew of redesigns during the past year, which have captured the consideration of car shoppers," said Henry. "Chevrolet decided to take a daring approach with its styling and it paid off. The models primarily driving the success of Chevrolet's expressive design efforts are the Corvette Stingray and Camaro."
For more information about the 2014 Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards, visit http://www.kbb.com/new-cars/brand-image-awards/.