By on February 6, 2014


Toyota is an old family firm. Ford is 111 years old. Chevrolet celebrated its centennial not long ago. Mercedes-Benz traces its lineage back to the 19th century. Though not 100 years old like those companies, Honda has been around for more than a half century. In Consumer Reports’ latest brand perception survey, Tesla Motors, a relative neophyte car company barely a decade old, has elbowed its way past Mercedes-Benz for a spot in the top 5 automobile brands assigned points for quality, safety, value, design and technology. The results are based on a poll of 1,578 vehicle owners. CR had earlier named the Tesla Model S electric car as among the very best it has ever tested.

Tesla jumped to 5th in the survey, up from 11th last year and follows Toyota, Ford, Honda and Chevrolet in that order.

“Consumers are influenced by word of mouth, marketing and hands-on experience,” Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports deputy automotive editor, said in a statement. “Perception can be a trailing indicator, reflecting years of good or bad performance in a category, and it can also be influenced by headlines in the media.”

In addition to giving the Model S the highest score ever given in their testing , the magazine said in November that the Model S also placed first in its owner satisfaction poll.

While Mercedes-Benz fell to 7th place in the survey, Toyota not only stayed in first place, it widened its lead over second place, which this year is occupied by Ford, as Honda fell to third place. Subaru jumped from 13th to 6th, while Hyundai and Dodge fell out of the top 10. Jaguar, Land Rover and Maserati had the lowest brand rankings.

Full report here (PDF).

Consumer Reports Auto Brand Perception results
Brand Weighted Total Score
Toyota 145.4
Ford 120.4
Honda 108.6
Chevrolet 105.2
Tesla 88
Subaru 86.6
Mercedes-Benz 82.5
Volvo 80.4
Cadillac 77.8
BMW 73.4
Buick 59.3
GMC 56.4
Audi 54
Nissan 53.6
Smart 52.9
Dodge 52.9
Lexus 51.9
Volkswagen 49.8
Hyundai 40.9
Kia 39.7
Lamborghini 37.4
Chrysler 33.9
Bentley 33
Lincoln 31.4
Ferrari 31.3
Mazda 28.3
Acura 28.1
Porsche 24.8
Fiat 24.4
Jeep 23.4
Infiniti 22
Mitsubishi 20.8
Mini 20.6
Ram 17.2
Scion 16.8
Rolls-Royce 11.2
Jaguar 9.2
Maserati 8.5
Land Rover 3.9
Source: Consumer Reports National Research Center


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14 Comments on “Upstart Tesla Makes the Top 5 in Consumer Reports’ Brand Perception Survey...”

  • avatar

    A great product that overcame numerous hurdles.
    A great stock which continues to make me very , very happy.

    • 0 avatar

      Just yesterday, you were busy slapping the Tesla around with backhanded compliments. How it was “ok” but for that money, it still doesn’t beat a huge ICE (read: 300 SRT-8).
      And now it’s “A great product”
      What gives?

  • avatar

    Bizarre results. This survey is novel and significant–or means nothing at all.

  • avatar

    Judging by a majority of my acquaintances, keeping up with news or today’s world is too hard a task, so they resort to FB and twitter to reassure themselves that last week’s party or today’s breakfast was just great.

    Ask 1576 of these people about brand perception and this is the result.

    Plus, Aston Martin isn’t even on the list!

    All highly suspect.

    • 0 avatar

      Did any of my fellow commenters bother to open the linked report?
      I found it quite enlightening.
      It goes into a very detailed breakdown of criteria of respondents and what questions they were asked.

      The fact of it is – is this survey looks like a cross-slice of America. This was a random poll of men and women across America not a survey of car enthusiasts.

      Dweller, commented that Toyota was on top and Scion was near the bottom. Why? Because Scion is not nearly as well known as Toyota – Scion barely advertises, has a limited product line – they are not “perceived” as well known car that is known for quality and safety.

      Before making snap – and often dismissive – judgments, get the whole picture.

  • avatar
    Dweller on the Threshold

    Scion near the bottom, Toyota on top.


    • 0 avatar

      Well, at least Scion beat out Rolls Royce. And look! Fiat is ahead of Jeep! I get the feeling that those polled would answer “no opinion” to a true/false question.

  • avatar

    So Lexus has a lower brand perception than Nissan. Both of which are much higher than Rolls-Royce.

    What EXACTLY is this survey trying to tell us? That 1,578 vehicle owners who don’t know much about cars answered questions?

    Are these 1,578 people just average citizens, most of whom have a CUV or Corolla? “TOYOTA IS BEST B/C MY SISTER CAN PUT CARSEAT IN HER CR-VRAV4 OK.”


  • avatar

    Looks like Volvo is rated well, why don’t folks buy them? Price is about all I can think of. Maybe it’s the lack of status that a BMW or MB supply.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Volvo is at risk in the US. It’s a well-regarded brand, but precious few people actually want to pay for one. Most other makes offer better value.

      If/when the day comes that Volvo leaves the US, people will wail about what a good/misunderstood brand it is, just like Saab.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Here’s a question for the TTAC staff:

    When is Tesla going to earn a stop in the “Find Car Reviews By Make” section at the bottom of every TTAC page? Right now, there are two dead brands (Saab and Saturn), plus a couple more that are probably on the ropes. Then there are several more niche brands that produce less cars annually than Tesla (Ferrari, Lambo, etc). What does Tesla have to do to get out from under the category of “Others”?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m gonna say probably once Tesla has more cars to review. They’ve had few so far 2008 Roadster, 2010 Roadster, Roadster Sport, and Model S (60, 85, Performance). But really that breaks down to only two cars and one with two model years. There’s not enough from Tesla yet.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t put much stock in this survey, even though I’m a fan of Tesla.

    Surveys based upon perceptions aren’t really meaningful, except to describe who’s been in the news lately. If the respondents were truly informed, they would have ranked Tesla #1 in fuel economy, for instance, but instead Toyota came in first.

  • avatar

    This survey: The only time Mitsubishi will ever beat Rolls Royce.

    Useless data for the sake of data.

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