Kelley Blue Book 2018 Brand Image Award Winners Revealed

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Automotive Brands Are among the Most Recognisable, Most Valued Brands in the World.

There are few products more ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives than the automobile, and capturing the hearts and minds of car shoppers could mean more sales in the long run. In fact, when asked about vehicles consumers find appealing, nearly half of respondents of a recent survey on behalf of Kelley Blue Book said they are loyal to the specific brands that they have had a good previous experience with. Recognising automakers’ outstanding achievements in creating and maintaining brand attributes that capture the attention and enthusiasm of new-car buyers, Kelley Blue Book has announced the 2018 Brand Image Award winners, based on annual new-car buyer perception data. Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers.

“Building familiarity and loyalty among car shoppers has never been more important to automakers, especially as the market is flooded with all-new and redesigned models competing for market share,” said Hwei-Lin Oetken, director of media strategic insights for Kelley Blue Book. “The combination of compelling product and marketing communications continues to influence purchase consideration. This year’s winners have attracted car shoppers based on many attributes that are important to consumers, and motivate them toward their ultimate purchase decision.”

For the first time since 2015, Honda regains its Best Overall Brand title, in addition to winning Best Value Brand and Most Refined Brand. As the Best Overall Brand, Honda captured the highest average scores among all 12 Brand Watch factors, including affordability, driving comfort, driving performance, durability/reliability, exterior styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, prestige/sophistication, reputation, ruggedness, safety and technology. Honda’s redesigned models in key segments, such as compact and mid-size car, have resonated well with consumers, boosting perceptions of the brand. Strong performances from the Accord, CR-V and Civic took Honda over-the-top and contributed to this year’s brand win.

2018 Brand Image Award Winners: Non-Luxury Brands


2018 Brand Image Award Winner: Truck Brand


2018 Brand Image Award Winners:  Luxury Brands


Lexus continues its reign as Best Overall Luxury Brand, earning this title for the third consecutive year. Lexus’ tradition of high-quality products and its recent emphasis on style and emotion, contributed to the brand’s win. The ES, NX, RX and LS consistency received high ratings among consumers for this year’s study. Lexus also earned Most Trusted Luxury Brand for 2018.

For five years running, Ford is the Best Overall Truck Brand with the continued success of its light and heavy-duty trucks. Since the Brand Image Award program began in 2008, Ford has won this honour every year, except in 2013 when it was outranked by Toyota.

Mazda is another noteworthy winner for 2018 with its Best Performance Brand award win. This is the first year Mazda is being recognised in this category, nabbing the win from Subaru, which won in 2016 and 2017. Mazda also is being recognized for the second consecutive year in the Best Car Styling Brand category.

The 2018 Brand Image Awards are based on consumer automotive perception data from Kelley Blue Book Strategic Insights’ Brand Watch study. Brand Watch is an online brand and model perception tracking study, which taps into more than 12,000 in-market new-vehicle shoppers annually on The highly comprehensive study offers insight into how shoppers perceive important factors driving their purchase decisions, and captures brand/model familiarity and loyalty among new-car shoppers. For more information about the 2018 Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards, click here.