Ford Practically Tied With Toyota in Consumer Perceptions Study

Consumers feel that Ford has gained ground in things that matter most to consumers, like safety, quality and value, according to a Consumer Reports survey released today. Toyota, which usually leads the study, has lost ground the past couple years and is now about even with Ford. Toyota remained on top again this year.

In the Consumer Reports’ 2011 Car Brand Perception Survey, Toyota scored a 147, while Ford scored a 144. Ford increased its score by 35 percentage points over the past two years, while Toyota’s score fell by 46 percentage points over the same time period.

The survey scores reflect how consumers perceive each automotive brand in seven categories: safety, quality, value, performance, design/style, technology/innovation and environmentally friendly/green.

Toyota 4Runner

Toyota came in first again this year, but Ford is nipping at its heels and came in a close second.

Last year, Toyota also came in first and Ford was second. Consumer Reports says that Toyota scored well in the environmentally friendly/green category this year2, while Ford scored high in the value category.

Rounding out the top 10 in the 2011 car brand perception survey were Honda (121), Chevrolet (102), BMW (93), Mercedes-Benz (90), Volvo (84), Lexus (69), Cadillac (66) and Subaru (50). The automotive brands with the lowest scores in the study are listed on Consumer Reports’ site.

Consumer Reports found that safety, quality and value were the most important factors for consumers who are considering buying a new car. Potential car shoppers weren’t as concerned with performance, environmentally friendly/green, design/style and technology/innovation.

In the safety category, Volvo scored the highest. Honda won in the quality category, while Ford was best for value. BMW had the best score for performance, while Toyota was the most environmentally friendly/green brand. BMW also had the highest score in the design/style category, while Toyota and Mercedes-Benz tied for the top spot in the technology/innovation area.

The study’s data came from a random, nationwide telephone survey of 2,019 adults done by the Consumer Reports National Research Center on December 2-6, 2010. The survey data came from 1,721 adults in households that had at least one car. Consumer Reports said it adjusts the scores for awareness level, ensuring every brand has an equal chance of leading a category, not just the best-selling or most well-known brands.