Over Seven in Ten Americans Planning a Summer Road Trip; Disney Theme Parks Amusement Attraction Brand of the Year

Discount Tire, Michelin, Valvoline, Garmin Navigation System, Bose, Costco Gasoline, And QuikTrip Are Brands of the Year in road trip product and service provider categories

Jun 27, 2013, 16:35 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For many Americans, summer is the best time to travel; in fact, a majority (72%) of those surveyed in a recent Harris Poll plan to do so this summer by way of a road trip with at least one overnight stay. Americans anticipate taking an average of 2.7 such trips between May and August of 2013. According to the poll (conducted online by Harris Interactive among 2,084 U.S. adults ages 18+ from May 31 to June 4, 2013), younger Americans (ages 18-34) are more likely to have at least one road trip planned (81%) than any other age group (68% ages 35-44, 74% ages 45-54, 65% ages 55+). Those in households with children (80%) are also more likely to have a road trip planned than those without (68%). But where are they vacationing, and what brands fuel American road trips?

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As Americans gear up for road trips, be it a theme park destination, a national park or even an exciting new city, certain products and services are necessary along the way. The Harris Poll EquiTrend® is ready to share how Americans rate the major Auto Service Centers, Tire brands and Motor Oil brands helping these travelers hit the road, along with the GPS System and In-Vehicle Audio brands that will help them get where they're going and stay entertained along the way. The EquiTrend study also looks at which Gasoline and Convenience Store brands are worth the stop during a trip. EquiTrend is an annual Brand Equity study that measures the perceptions of 38,500+ American consumers on more than 1,500 lifestyle, product and service brands and is comprised of three key factors: Familiarity, Quality and Consideration.

Disney Theme Parks is Top Amusement Attraction
A separate Harris Poll reveals that the top 5 vacation destinations for the summer of 2013 include beach locations (38%), downtown cities/city centers (27%), countryside/rural locations (23%), national/state parks (23%) and theme parks (21%).

For the more than two out of ten Americans planning to visit theme parks this summer, Disney Theme Parks may be at the top of their list, since once again it is the Harris Poll EquiTrend Amusement Attraction Brand of the Year. Disney Theme Parks racks up strong scores across all elements of Brand Equity, as well as a strong Consumer Connection score, which is comprised of Emotion, Fit, Trust and Performance. Also a top contender, Sea World Theme Parks scores above the Amusement Attraction category average with strong Quality and Consideration scores.

Amusement Attraction brands ranked above category average:


Disney Theme Parks – 2013 Amusement Attraction Brand of the Year


Sea World Theme Parks

Other Amusement Attraction brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): Busch Garden Theme Parks, Hershey Theme Park, Six Flags Theme Parks, Universal Studios Theme Parks

Discount Tire Rolls into the Lead
An important first stop when planning a road trip happens before the car is even packed. Bringing a vehicle in for a maintenance check-up is a great way to ensure a safe vacation. While many of the automotive service brands ranked above average remain the same as last year, Discount Tire edges out last year's top ranked brand, Napa AutoCare Center, to become the 2013 Automotive Service Center Brand of the Year. While Discount Tire's Familiarity is lower than some other brands rated, its Quality and Consideration scores push it to the top. 

"With a winning formula of value and low price guarantees on tires, Discount Tire was able to increase brand awareness through its involvement with the No. 22 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, along with an intense focus on customer experience," explains Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive.

Goodyear Tire and Service Network continues to hold its ranking, followed by Valvoline Instant Oil Change and National Tire and Battery (NTB). Pennzoil 10 Minute Oil Change Center, which moves above the category average this year, and WalMart Tire & Lube Express round out the brands above the category average.

Auto Service Center brands ranked above category average:


Discount Tire – 2013 Auto Service Brand of the Year


Napa AutoCare Center


Goodyear Tire and Service Network


Valvoline Instant Oil Change


National Tire and Battery (NTB)


Pennzoil 10 Minute Oil Change Center


WalMart Tire & Lube Express

Other Auto Service Center brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): AAMCO Transmission, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Havoline xpress lube, Jiffy Lube Oil Change Centers, Meineke Car Care Center, Midas Auto Service Express, Mobil 1 Lube Express, PepBoys Automotive Service Centers, Precision Tune Auto Care, Sears Automotive Centers

Michelin Maintains its Grip on the Tire Brand of the Year Title
Aside from an overall inspection, car owners should be advised to evaluate the health of their tires before setting off on a road trip. For the third year in a row, Michelin holds onto the Tire Brand of the Year title, followed once again by Goodyear. Other brands that rank above the category average include Pirelli, Yokohama and BFGoodrich.

Tire brands ranked above category average:


Michelin Tires – 2013 Tire Brand of the Year


Goodyear Tires


Pirelli Tires


Yokohama Tires


BFGoodrich Tires

Other Tire brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): Bridgestone Tires, Continental Tires, Cooper Tires, Firestone Tires, General Tires, Hankook Tires, Kelly Tires, Uniroyal Tires

Valvoline Motors to the Top
It's a good idea to err on the side of caution and look into an oil change prior to heading for the highway. Americans give high ratings to Valvoline Motor Oil, which pulls ahead of the previously top ranked Pennzoil Motor Oil for the first time since 2009 to become the Motor Oil Brand of the Year.

Mobile 1 and Castrol also finish above the category average.

Motor Oil brands ranked above category average:


Valvoline Motor Oil – 2013 Motor Oil Brand of the Year


Pennzoil Motor Oil


Mobil 1 Motor Oil


Castrol Motor Oil

Other Motor Oil brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): Havoline Motor Oil, Mobil Motor Oil, Quaker State Motor Oil, Shell Motor Oil

Technology to Keeps Road Trippers On Track and Entertained
Once these road trippers are ready to go, it's time to let technology take over, with navigation and sound systems. Garmin finds itself on the right path as the GPS Navigation Brand of the Year, and it sounds like Bose hit all the right notes, maintaining its top ranking and earning the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Car Audio Brand of the Year title. Bose is once again joined above the category average by harman/kardon In-Vehicle audio.

GPS Navigation brands ranked above category average:


Garmin Navigation System  – 2013 GPS Navigation Brand of the Year

Other GPS Navigation System brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): Magellan Navigation System, TomTom Navigation System

Car Audio brands ranked above category average:


Bose In-Vehicle Audio – 2013 Car Audio Brand of the Year


harman/kardon In-Vehicle Audio

Other Car Audio brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): Alpine In-Vehicle Audio, Infinity In-Vehicle Audio, JBL In-Vehicle Audio, Panasonic In-Vehicle Audio, Pioneer In-Vehicle Audio, Sony In-Vehicle Audio

Costco Gasoline and QuikTrip Convenience Store Fuel Car and Driver
To keep the road trip going, Costco Gasoline maintains the title as the Retail Gasoline Brand of the Year, followed closely by two other high equity brands: Murphy Gasoline (sold through Walmart Stores) and Speedway.

Other gasoline brands ranking above the category average include Shell, Sam's Club, Valero, Hess, Exxon, Marathon and Chevron.

Gasoline brands ranked above category average:


Costco Gasoline – 2013 Gasoline Brand of the Year


Murphy Gasoline (Walmart)


Speedway Gasoline


Shell Gasoline


Sam's Club Gasoline


Valero Gasoline


Hess Gasoline


ExxonMobil Gasoline


Marathon Gasoline


Chevron Gasoline

Other Gasoline brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): ARCO Gasoline, BP Gasoline, CITGO Gasoline, Conoco / Phillips 66 / 76 Gasoline, Gulf Oil, Sunoco Gasoline, Texaco Gasoline

However, the vehicle isn't the only thing that needs refueling on a road trip – convenience stores help fuel drivers and passengers alike. For 2013, QuikTrip earns the Harris Poll EquiTrend Convenience Store Brand of the Year title. Besides being top ranked in Brand Equity, QuikTrip also receives strong scores for Brand Momentum, which is a measure of customer perceptions of the brand in the future. Brand Momentum is comprised of Future Outlook, Ubiquity, Energy, Popularity and Leadership.

Convenience Store brands ranked above category average:


QuikTrip Convenience Store – 2013 Convenience Store Brand of the Year


Sheetz Convenience Store


WaWa Convenience Store


7-Eleven Convenience Store


Speedway Convenience Store

Other Convenience Store brands in study ranked below category average (alphabetically): APlus Convenience Store at Sunoco, ARCO ampm Convenience Store, BP Convenience Store, Chevron Food Mart, Circle K Convenience Store, Shell Convenience Store

Harris Poll Methodologies
These Harris Polls were conducted online within the United States between March 13 and 18, 2013 among 2,276 adults (aged 18 and over) and between May 31 and June 4, 2013 among 2,084 adults (also aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for these surveys were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the samples are based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Harris Poll EquiTrend® Methodology
A sample of 38,814 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over were surveyed online by Harris Interactive from January 11 through February 8, 2013 and the survey took an average of 35 minutes to complete. The sample was from the Harris Interactive online panel of respondents, a database consisting of over a million cooperative respondents who have double-opted in to be randomly invited by Harris Interactive to take part in online surveys. The total number of brands rated was 1,511. 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. This is the same precision weighting approach Harris has used to become the leading online polling organization when calling elections.

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.

An academic study concluded that when using the Harris Poll EquiTrend® Brand Equity model to determine brand value (as opposed to a financially-based measure of brand value), the stock performance of the top brands consistently surpassed the market during the 2008 financial downturn. The academic study findings appear in the September 2012 issue of the International Journal of Research in Marketing in the paper titled, "The Performance of Global Brands in the 2008 Financial Crisis: A Test of Two Brand Value Measures." The paper was authored by Johny K. Johansson, Claudiu V. Dimofte and Sanal K. Mazvancheryl.

The Harris Poll and 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 Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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