Subaru recently introduced the new 2022 Outback Wilderness, the most capable Outback ever. Credit: Subaru
Subaru, Toyota and Lexus are the top overall brands named in Kelley Blue Book’s 2021 Brand Image Awards. Subaru takes the best non-luxury segment, Toyota for best overall truck brand and Tesla for the best overall luxury brand.
The awards highlight brands that earn the attention of new car buyers and are based on annual new-car buyer perception data. So to earn a spot on the list these are brands that generate greater interest and positive perceptions.
"Brand perception and purchase consideration are incredibly important factors for automakers to consider as they develop their new products and related marketing communications," said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence for Cox Automotive. "The well-recognized phrase 'perception is reality' frequently rings true in the automotive marketplace. Brands that impress and leave a lasting impression often are the ones to ultimately achieve increased market share. Winners of Kelley Blue Book's Brand Image Awards demonstrate that they are succeeding in capturing the attention of new-car shoppers."
2021 Brand Image Award Winners: Non-Luxury Brands
|Subaru||Best Overall Brand|
|Subaru||Most Trusted Brand|
|Honda||Best Value Brand|
|GMC||Most Refined Brand|
|Subaru||Best Performance Brand|
|Dodge||Best Car Styling Brand|
2021 Brand Image Award Winner: Truck Brand
|Toyota||Best Overall Truck Brand|
2021 Brand Image Award Winners: Luxury Brands
|Tesla||Best Overall Luxury Brand|
|Lexus||Most Trusted Luxury Brand|
|Tesla||Best Value Luxury Brand|
|Tesla||Most Refined Luxury Brand|
|Tesla||Best Performance Luxury Brand|
|Porsche||Best Car Styling Luxury Brand|
Subaru is no stranger to the list. For the second year in a row and the fourth time in the past six years, Subaru is the Best Overall Brand for 2021 among non-luxury automakers, achieving the highest average score across all ratings of non-luxury models. Subaru also takes home specific awards once again this year for Most Trusted Brand and Best Performance Brand.
“At Subaru, cultivating and maintaining the trust of our owners is at the heart of everything we do, and Subaru owners know that we go above and beyond to earn their dedication,” said Thomas J. Doll, President and CEO, Subaru of America, Inc. “We are honored that Kelley Blue Book has once again recognized the level of loyalty the Subaru brand represents as an automaker that is More Than a Car Company®.”
Kelley Blue Book says Subaru's wins are based on the automaker's reputation for delivering safe, spacious, capable, and exceptional quality vehicles that satisfy the needs of both everyday consumers as well as those seeking rugged performance at an affordable price point.Our own CarProUSA show host Jerry Reynolds talks about those Subaru attributes in his recent Q1 2020 Incentive Spending report, noting:
“It is interesting to me to watch Subaru. The little car company just came off the best quarter in its history, yet spent way less than half the money in incentives as all the others. The lesson here: Build vehicles people want to buy, make them safe and durable, and price them right. If you do that, people will buy your product.”
- Jerry Reynolds, CarProUSA Radio Show Host
Tesla debuted on KBB’s Brand Image Awards last year. This year it once again dominates among luxury automakers for 2021. It’s the Best Overall Luxury Brand for the second year running, achieving the highest average score across all ratings of luxury models. It also wins awards for Best Value Luxury Brand, Most Refined Luxury Brand and Best Performance Luxury Brand.
KBB says Tesla’s design, technology and interiors contribute to the brand’s success. KBB also credits its reputation for value in the luxury segment to the hugely popular Model 3.
This is Toyota’s third consecutive win for Best Overall Truck Brand. Toyota achieved the highest average score across all ratings of truck models and 12 weighted factors of importance. The brand's Tacoma and Tundra trucks were among the Top 10 vehicles overall this year, and their combined average score pushed Toyota to the top over other truck manufacturers. Tacoma has been the best-selling pickup in its segment for the last 16 years and continues to be at the forefront of consideration growth.
Other Notable Wins
Some other notable wins include Honda as Best Value Brand among non-luxury automakers for the seventh consecutive year, and Lexus as Most Trusted Luxury Brand for the sixth year in a row. Dodge wins Best Car Styling Brand for the third consecutive year, and GMC wins Most Refined Brand for the second consecutive year among non-luxury automakers. Porsche returns to the Brand Image Awards winner's circle this year for Best Car Styling Luxury Brand, an award it previously won in 2019.
About the awards
The 2021 Brand Image Awards are based on consumer automotive perception data from Kelley Blue Book's Brand Watch study. It tracks online brand and model perception, tapping into more than 12,000 in-market new-vehicle shoppers annually on KBB.com. The study offers insights into how shoppers perceive important factors driving their purchase decisions and captures brand/model familiarity and consideration among new-car shoppers.