Branding and the importance of reputation in automotive
Any market has the brands we all know. Look around you at shoes, laundry detergent, food, clothing, electronics and much more and you will see the brands you recognize and have opinions about. What makes us feel somewhat uncomfortable is having a brand we aren’t sure of bring us a product that we feel needs to be put through the paces and tested to see if it stands up to our testing and expectations that have been built up over time with other brands.
Brand imaging is none more prevalent than in the automotive world where we associate a specific feeling or set of features with a brand name. Kelley Blue Book publishes its brand image awards annually for us to know what brands have kept up and built a great reputation as the best brands for us to buy. Here are the winners for the 2015 model year.
Best Overall Brands
The best mainstream brand is Honda and has been for three years in a row. The longstanding traditions of having vehicles that offer quality and reliability have helped Honda win and keep on winning this award. The well-built and hassle-free feeling of driving a Honda offers you the feeling of security and enjoyment when driving the vehicles from Honda. Not only do you get reliability, but sales have shown more owners buy a second or third Honda than any other brand, that’s the kind of loyalty every brand is looking for.
In the luxury category, Porsche took the title of best overall brand. As a tradition, Porsche offers a driving experience that is like no other automaker in the world and continues that feeling throughout the entire lineup of Porsche vehicles. Starting with the all familiar 911 and on up to the new Macan SUV, Porsche gives its buyers exactly what they want and need, an engaging drive with the capability to outclass any other vehicle on the road.
Most Trusted Brands
In the mainstream market the most trusted brand for 2015 is Subaru, which is not really any huge surprise. Give the world a brand that offers standard all-wheel-drive on every model (save the BRZ) and you easily have their attention and trust. This added traction ability in any weather makes it a fun drive for anyone owning a Subaru. Not only does the AWD make a difference, but the fact there is almost a cult following of many of these vehicles to help make sure anyone can head off road with great ride height help give these vehicles the ability to be great for on and off road travel.
In the luxury category, Mercedes-Benz takes the award of most trusted brand. The experience of being the luxury automaker that more can trust to help ensure their drive is one that is safe, engaging, and enjoyable along with offering some of the longest menus of safety equipment make this brand one of the best in the entire automotive world.
Best Value Brand
The value of a brand is built on its reputation for holding onto a resale value. In order to do this a brand has to have vehicles that are reliable and give a mass appeal. Honda shows up not only as the best overall brand for the mainstream segment, but also as the best value brand with its reputation for resale value and even a low initial cost across the board. When a Honda owner trades their old Honda in for a new one, they know they are going to get the best trade in value possible and the dealers know they can count on an easy turn around in sales with most Honda vehicles.
In the luxury category Buick takes the award for the best value with a more luxury and enticing lineup that is made to be more appealing to a wider generational contingent than ever before. The resale value is still great for Buick and with many of the models starting as low as $25,000 you can get in a Buick that offers you a quiet, comfortable ride with great technology and a new attractive style that makes it easy to enjoy the Buick lineup.
Most Refined Brand
The mainstream most refined brand is a shock. This brand makes only large vehicles that are made for the working-class of America and offer a toughness that is beyond compare. The vehicles of this brand are not only tough and strong get the job done type of vehicles, but also offer some of the most comfortable rides and pleasurable features inside any cabin to make the ride to and from the jobsite or outdoor adventure location one of pleasure and enjoyment. The brand I am speaking of is GMC, which may surprise you as a refined brand, but one test drive may change your thoughts for good.
In the luxury category there are no surprises as Porsche takes this award. Porsche pretty much has this award tied up each and every year with its awesome features and amazing luxury appointments. Mating the driver with the vehicle and having an almost magnetic ride on the road have been signature feelings in Porsche vehicles for many years. It might seem ore of surprise if Porsche were to not win this particular award.
Best Performance Brand
Subaru takes home this prize in the mainstream category with some awesome performance laden vehicle that can seriously devour the track or the road and give back what race drivers want. The WRX, WRX STI and BRZ are out to deliver the performance desire whether the track is a traditional oval or one made of dirt trails that offer an easy win for a Subaru model. Other performance comes from the SUV line from Subaru that allows these vehicles to be the dominant choices for many ski towns and snow country areas.
As a third award for Porsche, there is no shock they take home this award as well. The name of Porsche remains synonymous with performance and the expanded lineup that allows you to order a Porsche with a variety of features that make your driving experience even better than before makes it nearly perfect for driving as it is glued to the road. With Porsche offering SUVs and sedans as well as the extended lineup for you to really enjoy and continuing to be one of the most trusted performance brands, the award is really theirs to lose.
Best Styling Brand
Mazda takes the hardware for the best style in the mainstream category with some of the sharpest looking cars and SUVs on the market today. Led by the Miata, the “zoom zoom” mantra of Mazda continues to churn our hearts and give us a great deal of amazing features and style to be enticed by and admire. The exterior looks are not the only part of the Mazda lineup that is amazing, but the interiors have been redone to be some of the most alluring on the market as well.
In the luxury category, yes, once again Porsche wins the award with shapes and looks that can only be described as elegant beauty in motion. The entire lineup from Porsche is made to be highly refined and ready to take off. Whether a Porsche is sitting in the driveway, or on the road these models beg for your attention and generally gain it easily from close up or an easy distance.
Best Overall Truck Brand
Ford once again takes the award for this category with the most trucks sold for more than thirty years, a new aluminum-intensive body styling and architecture to bring down the weight and save on fuel economy as well as continuing the be a fan favorite. The shock would actually be if Ford was not the winner for this category, especially with all the improvement in materials, weight and style that have been part of the new F-150 lineup.
It’s actually pretty easy to see why many of these brands won their awards for the brand recognition, appearance and long standing reputations for what their brands have stood for during their long history in business. When you see the logo from these brands do you relate the top level performance in these categories? More than likely you certainly do when it comes to what these names have stood for and continue to do so as we move through the 2015 model year.