NEW YORK, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With the memory of an epic winter still fresh, Americans are likely relishing the arrival of the 2014 summer driving season. Americans rated 29 Luxury and Full Line Automotive brands on three key factors of Brand Equity, including Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Overall, consumers give 20 of the 29 automotive brands in these categories their all-time highest ratings. These are some of the findings of the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® (EQ) study, which measures the Brand Equity of more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories.
"As consumers continue to re-enter the new vehicle market, we see almost all brands benefiting from an improved economy, pent-up demand, attractive loan rates and easing credit restrictions," says Mike Chadsey, automotive solutions consultant at Nielsen. "This post-recession improvement in purchase consideration is helping to lift brand equity scores, but the key to sustainable brand health for auto brands will be to build strong emotional connections with their target audience that hold up over the long haul."
Honda Earns Full Line Automotive Brand of the Year
Honda has emerged as the 2014 Full Line Automotive Brand of the Year for the second time in the last three years. Honda's 2014 Brand Equity score is not only a "personal best" for Honda over the past 10 years, but is the highest score the category has seen over the past decade as well. Honda's strong scores for Quality and Purchase Consideration drive this performance. Other brands scoring above the category average among Full Line Automotive Brands include Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet. All four of these brands have ranked in the segment's top-five brands for 10 straight years. Nissan also ranks above the category average, and has done so for nine of the last 10 years.
Mercedes-Benz Brand Equity at All-Time High
2014 is a good year for Luxury Automotive Brands. Eleven of the thirteen brands measured in the category are meeting or beating their own all-time high Brand Equity scores, and eight of these brands post significant year-over-year Brand Equity gains. The highest ranked brand, Mercedes-Benz, registers its all-time high Brand Equity score en route to becoming the 2014 Luxury Automotive Brand of the Year. Porsche, Infiniti, BMW, Lexus and Audi brands also rank above the category average.
"The battle for luxury vehicle market customers is brutal, with only a narrow spread separating the highest ranking brands in the category from the lowest," says Chadsey. "As the luxury category reaches feature, performance and style parity, brands that fail to create connections and affinity with target customers will be left behind."
KBB.com Earns Brand of the Year Three Years Running
Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) is the 2014 Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year, the third straight year the company has earned this distinction. "Kelly Blue Book has built its brand and familiarity through traditional advertising, social media, thought leadership content and how-to information," says Chadsey. "Frequent citations as a source for other automotive news outlets also help position KBB as an authority." Nearly six in ten respondents report visiting the KBB website. Edmunds.com also ranks above the Online Auto Shopping category average, with lower Familiarity scores but strong Quality and Consideration marks.
Ducati Races to the Top
Ducati Motorcycles earns Brand of the Year honors in its first year of inclusion in the EquiTrend study. Strong Quality and Consideration scores offset lower Familiarity results to drive Ducati to the top of the category. Other brands ranking above the category average include Harley-Davidson, Honda Motorcycles and BMW Motorcycles.
Harris Poll EquiTrend® Methodology
A sample of 41,806 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online from January 3 through January 31, 2014 and the survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 1,531. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over based on age by sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The Brand Equity Index is the keystone to the EquiTrend program, providing an understanding of a brand's overall strength. A brand's Equity is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration. Brand of the Year is determined by a simple ranking of brands.
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Harris Poll EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Poll.
Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
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SOURCE Harris Interactive