SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Consumers feel that Honda and Mercedes-Benz deliver the highest quality vehicles, according to a report from ALG, the analytics division of TrueCar.
Honda received the highest ratings among mainstream brands, followed by Toyota and Volkswagen, according to ALG’s Brand Perception of Quality (BPQ) study. Mercedes-Benz received the highest ratings among premium brands, followed by Lexus and BMW.
European automakers netted six of the Top 7 premium brand spots. The mix was a bit more varied among mainstream brands. While three of the Top 4 spots were held by Japanese automakers (Honda, Toyota, Subaru), domestic brands GMC, Ford and Buick were all among the next tier.
“When consumers buy a car, brand perception directly impacts how quickly the vehicle will depreciate,” said Larry Dominique, president of ALG and executive vice president at TrueCar. “Many consumers lack any real experience with the brand, so there is often a gulf between perception and reality. When deciding on a car purchase, consumers need to consider more than just build quality — they need to consider how the brand is perceived in the marketplace.”
Among college-educated respondents, Volkswagen and Subaru saw lifts in their favorability. Among Millennials, Jeep leapfrogged into the Top 3 brands.
“Millennials value transparency and authenticity and Jeep positions itself as authentically rugged,” said Dominique.
Brands with less familiarity among consumers tend to be perceived less favorably. Alfa Romeo, set to return the U.S. market by 2015, is a good example of a brand that will need to establish greater awareness before it can change perception.
ALG surveyed 30,000 recent car buyers in conjunction with Strategic Vision’s New Vehicle Experience Survey (NVES). They polled are asked to rate the quality of all brands. The calculated index removes the rating for the brand that the consumer purchased. BPQ rankings are indexed on a 100-point scale based on survey respondents’ qualitative scores, ranking aspects of vehicle brands. The full analysis is available here.