U.S. domestic car brands are losing favor with potential buyers while perceptions of luxury and international brands are improving despite shortages stemming from the Japan earthquake in March.
New and updated U.S. models have been reportedly hurt by computer glitches and usability issues related to the advanced technology being installed in the cars. Recalls have also likely harmed the perception of several domestic brands.
Entering May, the four groupings of auto brands that YouGov tracks – luxury, international, domestic and mid-market – were much closer in consumer perception, with luxury and international nearly tied as frontrunners, mid-market not far behind, and domestic hanging in behind that group.
Recalls, however, from Chrysler on eleven of their 2011 models, and Cadillac on their SRX crossover SUV took a toll in June: the domestic auto brand sector’s Impression score dropped from 15.6 on May 26 to 8.4 on June 28th. In early May, the score was as high as 20.
The international car brand sector saw its impression score rise from 26.3 on May 30th to 39.5 on June 28th. During that corresponding time, the luxury car sector’s Impression score jumped from 23.8 to 38.1.
The mid-market sector has remained steady the last two months, and perceived better by potential auto buyers than domestic cars, with a current 18.5 Impression score.
All auto brands were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Impression score, which asks respondents: "Do you have a general positive feeling about the brand?"