Brand perceptions and key decision factors are essential for the automakers. The recent study conducted by Brand Watch revealed the factors that result to SUV purchase.
Kelley Blue Book and Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research’s latest report series, Brand Watch, reveals the two most important factors of luxury SUV shoppers – they are driving comfort and driving performance. As to the non-luxury SUV shoppers, the deciding factors include fuel efficiency and durability/reliability. In the middle of the consideration factors of both the luxury and non-luxury is safety.
Among non-luxury SUV purchasers, the Toyota Motor Corp. emerged on the topmost list for fuel efficiency, durability or reliability and safety and it is known that these are the segment’s top three consideration factors. Toyota has established a good name in regard to the manufacture of quality car parts like engines, radiators, suspension and brakes. The automaker may not be using EBC Redstuff but its vehicles are good in performance. The automaker is also known for its refined hybrid technology.
Brand Watch also asked respondents their opinions and perceptions regarding up to 17 different attributes associated specifically with SUVs. Additionally, SUV shoppers were asked to not only rank these attributes in importance, but to also rate each automaker on those essential factors. The price-point difference between luxury and non-luxury SUV considerers pushed the top five attributes in the segment involving the two groups to be nearly opposites.
“Shoppers who can afford a luxury vehicle can also afford gas at $3.50 a gallon and are much more concerned with driving performance and driving comfort than fuel efficiency and reliability,” said Jack R. Nerad, the executive editorial director and also an executive market analyst. “Those concerned with fuel efficiency and reliability are much more cost-conscious overall and less likely to consider a luxury vehicle.”
GMC’s luxury Denali line topped the rankings for seating-capacity, towing and being family-friendly in the luxury SUV shoppers group. However, the study showed that it tied for last place with Saab when it comes to prestige and brand status. In the prestige and brand status category, consumers ranked Mercedes Benz at the top. For brand cachet and perception among consumers, HUMMER and Cadillac came in close behind Mercedes-Benz among luxury SUV shoppers. And while Hummer placed high for brand and prestige, the military-style vehicle ranked last for luxuriousness and sophistication, where again Mercedes-Benz garnered the top slot.
Brand Watch also revealed that Toyota and Honda got high for the majority of attribute categories including comfort, reliability and safety in the non-luxury shopping group. Nevertheless, when it comes to layout/design, stylishness and versatility/flexibility, non-luxury SUV intenders rate Ford highest.
“In-market shoppers’ make/model choices are clearly influenced by brand perceptions and brand-level campaigns,” said Rick Wainschel, the vice president of marketing research and brand communications for Kelley Blue Book. “It appears that the branding campaigns executed by some of the domestic luxury SUV brands are paying off.”
Brand Watch reaches out over 12,000 active and in-market shoppers every year to participate in its study and to convey their perception of vehicle makes within specific automotive segments.