Next week sees the first 2012-plate registered cars roll onto the streets. YouGov’s BrandIndex data indicates that the cars consumers would prefer to drive away are German.
The Index rankings have four German brands in the top five: Volkswagen leads the way with a score of +31, followed by Audi on +29, Mercedes, Jaguar (the one interloper) and BMW, all on +26.
In the car market, the Index score gives an idea of aspiration, but it is a composite of six key measures – impression, quality, value, satisfaction, recommendation and reputation – and there are considerable differences in ratings between measures. Indeed only Volkswagen makes it into the top five on all six of the measures (the next best is four out of six top five spots).
The biggest contrast comes between quality and value. From a quality point of view, the top three are BMW, Audi and Mercedes, but we see a different picture when it comes to that key measure of value. Here, it is VW and Ford that share the top spot on +23, with Toyota, Skoda and Honda rounding out the top five. Indeed, you need to drop as far down as 17th and 18th on this measure to find BMW and Mercedes. One brand on the slide value-wise is Vauxhall, which has dropped from seventh a year ago to ninth today.
British consumers may aspire to an Audi or Mercedes but with value such an important factor in a car purchase, reality may lead them to Ford or a VW. It is the latter that has been the most successful brand in terms of combining the two and portraying an image of affordable aspiration.