The Consumer Reports'
2008 Car Brand Perception Survey found that consumers perceived Toyota and Honda brands to be best by a wide margin, followed by Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC.
The survey also revealed that car buyers consider safety and quality as the most important factors, followed by value, performance, environmental friendliness, design and technical innovation.
In many cases, consumers' views do not accurately reflect the automaker's recent track record. For example, Mercedes-Benz finished in the top five for quality. But the brand placed 33rd out of 36 in Consumer Reports'
latest rankings for predicted reliability, a measure of quality over time.
"It is well worth doing your research before making a purchase," said Jeff Bartlett, deputy autos editor, ConsumerReports.org. "Depreciation, reliability, safety and other factors may be different from what you associate with a particular brand."
conducted the nationwide telephone survey from Dec. 6-10, 2007, contacting 2,037 adults selected at random. Survey data was collected from the 1,720 adults whose household owns at least one car. Category rankings and analysis can be found online in the Cars section of ConsumerReports.org