LAS VEGAS — How healthy is the brand of that dealership you are thinking of buying? Automotive News, in partnership with data powered by Cox Automotive, set out to answer that question with the Brand Profiles study.
The study is based on consumers' activities on Cox Automotive's Kelley Blue Book, Dealer.com and Autotrader websites. It looked at behavioral engagement — how actively brands were researched and shopped — as well as brand loyalty. Attitudinal surveys determined how brands were perceived in terms of, say, value and driving performance.
"If you're behaviorally healthy, you're on [shoppers'] consideration list," said George Seretis, Cox Automotive's senior manager of strategic insights. "If you're attitudinally healthy, you have an advantage against others on the list."
A low-selling brand still can be healthy. Low-volume brands with strong perceptions that "punch above their weight" include Subaru, Ram, Volvo, Mazda and Genesis, Seretis said. He added: "As Genesis adds models, especially in key segments, it's well positioned from an attitudinal standpoint."
Brands also can be fit by having strong models in key segments. Ford brand's F-150 pickup is first in its segment in attitudinal perceptions. The Mustang is third in its segment and the Taurus fifth in its. But Ford's other nameplates rank lower.
In contrast, every nameplate in Honda's more-limited lineup ranks first in its segment in attitudinal perception except for the Ridgeline, which is second, and the Pilot, which is third.
In behavioral engagement, four of the eight nameplates in Honda's lineup rank first in their segment, vs. only three of Ford's 10.
Among luxury brands, Audi and Lexus are strong in perceptions, but attitudinally different. Seretis said, "Lexus has pockets of strength, while Audi is more uniformly strong."