The image of German car manufacturers on the German market in comparison with international competitors is very good: four German car manufacturers (Porsche, Audi, BMW and Mercedes) are on top of the current BrandIndex ranking compiled by the psychonomics market research institute as far as the “quality” category is concerned. VW is also among the top ten in this ranking of more than thirty car brands. The current tail enders with regard to their quality images are Fiat, Daihatsu and Kia.
As far as perception of money-for-value is concerned, however, Japanese brands are clearly ahead, in particular Toyota and Mazda, followed by Honda and Nissan. Here the traditionally luxury brand Ferrari is in the last position. Equally negative is the assessment by Germans of the value-for-money relation of the Smart car. The major German brands rank somewhere midfield in this respect. With regard to the category of the most recommended car, Audi is currently leading followed by BMW and Volvo. At the lower end of this ranking list there are Lancia, Fiat, Kia and Daihatsu.
In the category of best general impression the Italian brand Fiat could improve its image most in the first quarter of 2008. The biggest relative image loss was suffered by Toyota in the first quarter this year. One reason for this is said to be the current poor ADAC breakdown record of Toyota.
The average image of all foreign and domestic car brands is seen by Germans to be somewhere in the lower, but still positive middle field as compared to other important lines of industry. The most negative brand image is currently inherent to the energy sector, investment trusts and banks, while in particular the food industry, health care and snack and sweets industries do currently enjoy the best image.
The above findings are based on daily interviews among 1000 Germans over a period of three months on more than 550 consumer good brands from 18 important lines of industry. The final assessment was based on aspects such as general brand impression, quality, value-for-money relation, customer satisfaction, recommendation propensity and employer image.