Mitsubishi begins long road to recovery

As Nissan announces it will take a 34% stake in rival car brand Mitsubishi, YouGov assess how consumer perception of Mitsubishi has changed in the wake of its scandal over fuel economy data.

The automotive industry has been dogged in the past year by stories concerning improper testing, and the falsification of results. Hitherto, Volkswagen has been the highest profile example, but other car brands have been implicated too.

Nissan has itself been accused this week of fitting fuel emission defeat devices. It disputes the claim.

Mitsubishi last month admitted it has used fuel consumption tests that broke Japanese rules for the past 25 years. Shares have plummeted since the announcement, and the firm is braced for more poor sales figures.

YouGov BrandIndex data helps us understand how consumer perception of the company has altered.

Our Buzz score measures whether a respondent has heard anything positive or negative about a particular company in the past two weeks. On this front, Mitsubishi’s rating fell from +1 to a more alarming -14, indicating the story has been picked up by the wider public.

YouGov’s Impression score (do you have a favourable opinion of the brand?) decreased significantly following the news too. Prior to the adverse press, its score was a respectable +12 among all respondents. This dropped to +2 in the aftermath – though it has begun to climb again slightly.

However, on both these measures, the decline was nothing like the change in figures we uncovered about Volkswagen.

It may be that consumers are now over the shock of the original emissions story, and are starting to experience a certain weariness with the story.

Generally however, Mitsubishi has dealt with the story in a proactive manner. It has admitted it has been at fault, and outlined what it will do in future. This may go some way to explaining why its scores have not plummeted in the same way as VW’s before it. However, with 90% of its sales outside Japan, it can expect many rough months ahead as consumers begin to regain trust.

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