Honda and Mercedes-Benz are the top car brands, according to a new study by Harris Interactive. More than 38,500 Americans responded to the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Automotive Scorecard, which assessed brand equity among automakers as well as online auto shopping sites, automotive service centers, motor oil, tires, navigation systems and motorcycles.
Honda ended up on top in the full-line automaker category. Toyota rose in the rankings from last year, placing second for 2012, followed by Ford, which dropped from first in 2011. Interestingly, Ford's equity score actually increased over last year, though it was still bested by Honda and Toyota. Equity scores between the three brands were very close: 62.55 (Honda), 62.51 (Toyota) and 62.10 (Ford). Rounding out the top five were Chevrolet (61.95) and Nissan (57.29).
In the luxury auto brand category, Mercedes-Benz held onto the top spot for the second year in a row with an equity score of 61.02, followed by BMW at 58.71 and Lexus at 58.40. Cadillac was a very close fourth, with an equity score of 58.39, followed by Acura in fifth at 56.32.
Consumers' perception of quality and their interest in buying a car from one of these brands affects the rankings, according to Harris Interactive.
Top brands in other categories in the poll include Kelley Blue Book (online auto shopping), Napa AutoCare Center (automotive service center), Bose (new car audio), Pennzoil (motor oil), Michelin (tires), Garmin (GPS navigation) and Yamaha (motocycles).
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.