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Honda named most reliable car brand


Honda currently outpaces all brands when it comes to reliability, according to a new analysis based on real-world vehicle repair.

Three of Honda’s most popular models — the CR-V, Civic and Accord — are among the top 10 most reliable cars on’s recently introduced Reliability Rating that is based on vehicle repair orders from the company’s network of over 2,000 shops.

“We wanted to take a fresh, data-driven approach to reliability,” RepairPal chief executive Art Shaw said in a news release.

“While other studies are based on subjective surveys, we are in a unique position with our nationwide network of shops to use actual repair data. The best way we can help consumers is by providing research tools that enable them to make the most informed decisions about their cars.”

The Reliability Rating scores are derived from vehicle repair orders on model years between 2010 through 2017.

Scores range from zero to 5.0. Four-point-five is considered excellent, 4 is considered good, and 3 is average.

Asian automakers Honda, Lexus, Hyundai, Mazda, Kia, Toyota and Acura have an excellent rating of 4.5.

Excellent ratings on its ES, IS and RX models has garnered Lexus the title of second-most-reliable brand and highest-ranked luxury brand.

Additionally, the Toyota Yaris, the only model to score an excellent rating of 5.0 out of 5.0, has been named overall most reliable car due in part to its low cost of ownership.

Behind the top Asian brands, Chrysler and Buick received the highest scores for domestic brands, and Volkswagen took home the top reliability ranking among European automakers.

Each vehicle reliability score is based on the cost, frequency and severity of repairs, according to RepairPal.

Full-size luxury shopper interest increases, alternative fuel remains leading segment


While the alternative fuel segment has remained the leading category in shopper interest growth since January, consumers are also showing increased interest in full-size luxury sedans, according to the latest monthly share of shopper interest data from Jumpstart Automotive Media.

The report reveals that shopper interest in full-size luxury sedans grew a notable 15 percent last month.

The segments increased interest can be attributed to the rise in interest for the upcoming all-new Lexus LS to enter the market next year.

Shopper interest for the luxury model nearly doubled 89 percent in September, according to Jumpstart.

Meanwhile, just percentage points behind Genesis’s overall brand shopper interest at plus-146 percent, the report suggests that Tesla, the second in overall brand shopper interest at plus-141 percent, has led alternative fuel segment shopper interest growth since January.

“Despite a continued stable gas price environment, interest in alternative fuel vehicles continues to rise, which is a testament to the sincere interest and quality of vehicles produced by Tesla, as well as continued interest in the new Chevrolet Bolt and Toyota Prius Prime,” Jumpstart strategic insights senior analyst Brian Miller said in a news release.

Additionally, although year-over-year interest in midsize pickups is currently down 11 percent, following interest decline from May through August, the report shows interest in the segment has increased 8 percent following anticipation of the new Nissan Frontier.

Share of interest for the model spiked 40 percent in September, according to Jumpstart.

“It’s interesting to see the Nissan Frontier have such an impact on midsize pickups, which recently has seen share of interest erode due to shoppers being pulled into similarly sized crossovers and SUV segments,” said Miller.

Tesla, Toyota among top 'talk-worthy' brands


When it comes to social influence among automotive brands in the U.S, Tesla Motors and Toyota are a step ahead of many of their respective luxury and mass market competitors. This is according to Engagement Labs' latest TotalSocial ranking that measures brand performance among automotive brands in both face-to-face and social media conversations.

The recent analysis follows the company's first ranking in April. Brands to rank in the top 10 have earned the highest TotalSocial scores.

While Ferrari remains the top-ranked brand, within the last six months, Tesla has distinctly jumped ahead four spots to capture the No. 2 ranking, and Toyota climbed two spots to take third place.

Tesla’s social influence spike during the past six months, particularly offline, can be attributed to the introduction of its first mass-market car, the Model 3.

Though the Model 3 rollout included an opulent live-streamed launch party, despite having no advertising budget, Tesla has leveraged its image as an innovative brand, according to Engagement Labs.

"The automotive industry continues to perform better offline than on social media," Engagement Labs chief executive officer Ed Keller said in a news release. "The ability to drive consumer conversation offline and online has a powerful impact on sales, and automakers aren't yet harnessing the full potential of social influence."

While Tesla has dominated in offline influence, Toyota has stronger online sentiment and online influence scores compared to six months ago.

Another brand to show strong online influence is Kia. Though the brand did not make the top 10 ranking, it currently carries the highest overall online score.

Though other luxury brands such as Audi and BMW, dropped two and three positions, respectively, overall luxury and sports car brands continue to dominate the list.

Meanwhile larger domestic brands such as Chevrolet, Ford and Jeep struggle to make the top 10, Honda remains in the top 10 even after dropping two spots in the past six months.

Top 10 most-searched vehicles in Autotrader history


Coinciding with its 20th anniversary, Autotrader on Monday compiled a list of the 10 most-searched vehicles on its website since it was established in 1997.

Moving past the days of fliers and circulars to reaching shoppers now, attached to their smartphones, Autotrader has hosted more than 2 billion car shoppers during the past 20 years and featured more than 350 million vehicle listings. 

Looking back to when dealers had to use computer modems to upload inventory, the 10 most-searched vehicles on Autotrader include:

1. Ford F-Series
2. Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
3. Jeep Wrangler
4. RAM 1500/2500
5. Chevrolet Camaro
6. Toyota Tacoma
7. Ford Mustang
8. Jeep Grand Cherokee
9. Chevrolet Tahoe
10. Toyota Tundra

This list is based on search history on Autotrader from July 2009 to July of this year.

“Autotrader invented online car shopping and constantly strives to re-imagine the category,” said Brian Geitner, president of Cox Automotive Media Solutions. “The transformation of our brand and the car shopping experience go hand-in-hand, and we’ll continue to adapt and enhance Autotrader as consumer behaviors and appetites change.”

Autotrader’s beginning coincides with the rise of the Internet era and its impact on how consumers received information. Paper-based vehicle listings were steadily eclipsed by a more convenient and up-to-date online inventory experience for both the buyer and the seller.

Video and editorial content, along with user-generated reviews and the introduction of Autotrader’s mobile app soon followed, helping better educate consumers looking to find and buy their next vehicle.

“We’ve always tried to stay ahead of the curve,” said Chuck Nasiadka, director of pre-owned operations with Baglier Automotive in Butler, Pa. “We went online with Autotrader using a laptop and dial-up service somewhere between 2000 and 2001. I’ve placed my faith in the fact they were there first, they have the most knowledge in the space and shoppers still mention Autotrader the most.”

US midsize sedan popularity drops as shoppers shift interest to SUVs


Once the No. 1 top-selling vehicle segment as recently as 2014, midsize sedans have been bumped to fifth by compact SUVs, large trucks, midsize SUVs and compact cars, according to Edmunds. respectively. 

The latest analysis data from Edmund’s shows market share for midsize sedans is now just 10.7 percent.

This is the segment’s lowest share since 1991 when Edmunds first began its tracking, according to the company.

Roughly 24 percent of midsize sedan owners who trade their vehicles in and buy a new car purchase a small SUV, compared to just 16.9 percent of owners three years ago, according to Edmunds.

“While it’s common for consumer tastes to change over time, it’s surprising to see just how quickly shoppers have made the switch from sedans to SUVs,” Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell said in a news release.

“As recently as three years ago, the Accord made up nearly 30 percent of all of Honda’s sales in the U.S., and so far in 2017 it’s down to 22 percent. Now that shoppers can now get an SUV for a similar price as a sedan and not have to pay much more at the pump, it’s hard to convince them the smaller vehicle is a better choice,” she explained.

Despite the declining interest in the midsize sedan, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord remain two of the most popular cars in the U.S.

Though popularity for both vehicles has also waned in recent years, Edmunds said the Asian brands have continued to out-perform others within the midsize sedan segment.

“As the pool of buyers shrinks, you have to put out that much better of a product to keep your share of the segment, and that’s exactly what Honda and Toyota are trying to do with the new Accord and Camry,” Caldwell added.

“Both are leaning on edgier design and a sportier image to convince shoppers that their vehicle is the stylish, fun choice in a segment that has a reputation for being overtly practical.”

As shopper interest in SUVs and other segments continues to grow, it’s unlikely the midsize sedan segment will ever have the popularity it once had among American car buyers, according to Edmunds.

8 findings from NFL & Cars Survey


Well, here’s a title Tom Brady and the New England Patriots didn’t win.

With Friday marking the first official day of fall and football season already in full swing, shared results of its NFL & Cars Survey, where thousands of drivers across the country made predictions about their favorite NFL teams, and also paired up certain vehicles and features with their favorite teams. presented the online survey to more than 2,500 drivers across the country during August.

The majority of those polled say their favorite team is the New York Giants with 11.3 percent of participants picking that squad, followed by the New England Patriots at 9.3 percent.

However, most believe the Patriots will win the Super Bowl this year (20.7 percent), followed by Dallas (10.1 percent), Green Bay (9.3 percent) and Oakland (6.8 percent). Brady and the Patriots are seeking their sixth championship this season.

Respondents also said they would vote Tesla Model S (22.8 percent) as Car of the Year, followed by the BMW 5 Series (8.7 percent).

When asked which model would make the best NFL team name, most said Vipers (32.6 percent), followed by Mustangs (22.6 percent), Challengers (11.9 percent), Teslas (8.9 percent) and Volts (7.4 percent).

When asked what those polled would do if their vehicle was destroyed in a hurricane, more men said they would replace it with the exact same make and model while more women said they would replace it with the same make but different model.

Other key findings:

Which NFL team reminds you of a car with a broken muffler?

Women said Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys. Men said Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and N.Y. Jets.

Which NFL team reminds you of a rusty car?

Women said Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. Men said Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.

What is your favorite car feature?

Women said blind spot monitoring, large LCD touch display, collision avoidance and lane departure warning. Men said voice command, auto parallel park, large LCD touch display and driverless car.

Shopper interest in luxury sport, coupe segments on rise


Car shoppers have recently shown increased interest in segments such as luxury sport, coupe, luxury sport sedan and large SUVs, according to Jumpstart Automotive Media’s latest shopper interest data report.

From July to August, across Jumpstart’s portfolio of sites, shopper interest in the luxury sport segment grew 28 percent; the coupe segment grew 15 percent; the luxury sport sedan grew 14 percent; and the large SUV segment grew 12 percent, according to the report.

For luxury sport vehicles like the Jaguar F-Type, shopper interest has risen by 51 percent so far this year.

And among coupes, the report found that shopper interest in the Toyota 86 rose 44 percent between July and August.

Since Q1 of 2016, when the automaker’s Scion FR-S model led all interest in coupes, Toyota has not led the segment, according to Jumpstart.

“This is the second straight month where Toyota has been a headliner in shopper interest for its vehicles in certain categories, with its C-HR Subcompact Crossover making the largest jump in interest for its segment in June,” Jumpstart strategic insights senior analyst Colin Thomas said in a news release. “The brand has done a remarkable job with vehicles recently, tapping into key performance and design attributes that shoppers are seeking today.”

Additionally, for the large SUV segment, interest for the Chevrolet Tahoe grew 26 percent from July to August, and so far this year interest in the Ford Expedition has increased by 44 percent.

Ford dominates German consumer brand loyalty rankings

FRANKFURT, Germany and SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - 

German drivers are most loyal to the Ford brand, according to IHS Markit which tracked nearly 340,000 vehicle transactions that occurred in Germany between August 2016 and July of this year.

IHS Markit's latest analysis on German shoppers' loyalty found that an overwhelming 73.5 percent of German consumers return to market for Ford brand vehicles.

The business information provider’s brand loyalty rates reflect how often consumers return to market for a new vehicle and acquires a vehicle of the same brand.

Behind Ford is smart, with 72.6 percent loyalty, followed by Volkswagen at 72.1 percent loyalty, according to IHS Markit.

And among premium brands, Mercedes customers are most loyal.

Roughly, 84 percent of new Mercedes owners return to market for new Mercedes vehicles, the study found, followed by BMW at 70.7 percent and Audi at 62.9.

“We are excited to bring this unique new analysis to customers in the German automotive market,” IHS Markit sales and marketing solutions vice president Steve Had said in a news release. “This effort highlights the ongoing successes of automakers and brands that continue to win back customers in this hyper-competitive environment and paves the way for manufacturers to engage in more targeted and efficient marketing efforts based on this insight.”

Additionally, brands with the most improved loyalty year-over-year according to IHS Markit analysis include SEAT with a 15.5 percentage improvement, followed by Lada, with 7 percentage points and Suzuki with a 6.4 percentage point improvement.

As for this year’s most improved premium brands, Jaguar’s loyalty improved by 2.6 percentage points since last year, followed by Volvo with 2.2 percentage points and Mercedes, which improved by a percentage point.

Study: Entry luxury sedans interest up


Data from Jumpstart Automotive Media's latest shopper insight reports reveals that longer ad campaigns see higher click-thru rates and, athough loyalty has continued to recently drop for entry luxury sedans, the segment remains the No. 1 most-shopped luxury segment on Jumpstart sites.

Interestingly, while loyalty for entry luxury sedans is down 7-percent from the same time last year, according to Jumpstart’s August Path to Purchase report, currently shopper interest in the segment shows a 9-percent increase since last year, as well.

Loyalty also dropped by 4-percent from Q1 to Q2 of this year, according to the report.

“As interest grows in this segment, there’s also competition from other cross-shopped segments that is diminishing loyalty for entry luxury sedan shoppers, such as midsize luxury sedan and midsize sedan,” Jumpstart strategic insights and analytics senior director Aline Hilsabeck said in a news release.

Jumpstart suggests new vehicle and model options within the midsize sedan segment continues to increase competition for shopper interest.

With year-over-year shopper growth of 37-percent, midsize sedans currently make up the highest number of hybrid models, according to Jumpstart.

“All the varying vehicle sizes, as well as alternate fuel options, are giving today’s shoppers a tremendous amount of options to choose from,” added Hilsabeck. “This certainly explains why there is a lot of interest for entry luxury, but why it’s also seeing some of the biggest increases in cross-shopping today.”

Longer ad campaigns' impact on ROI

Meanwhile, in regards to shopper interest overall, longer ad campaigns see higher click-thru rates than short-flighted ones because car shoppers are beginning their research with narrow consideration sets and spending less time making purchase decisions, according to Jumpstart’s "The Long Run: Why Constant Brand Presence Matters" report released in August.

Jumpstart found that most shoppers start their research considering just three brands, two body styles and three models.

Following their research, the report shows that 93 percent of car shoppers make a purchase in about four months, and 68 percent were found to finish within a month, according to the report.

The click-thru rate of one month-long ad campaigns averages 0.06 percent, compared to 0.08 percent at four plus months.

Both two-month and three-month-long campaigns average 0.07 percent.

Additionally, the report shows longer ad campaigns also yield lower costs per visits and visitor.

The following lists how campaign length affects ROI by month:

  • 1 Month — CTR Rate: 0.06 percent, Cost Per Visitor: $30.58, Cost Per Visits: $17.34
  • 2 Months — 0.07 percent,  $19.59, $10.63
  • 3 Months — 0.07 percent, $7.50, $4.01
  • 4+ Months — 0.08 percent, $7.55, $3.71

The report is based on over 4,000 Tier-3 dealer digital marketing campaigns that ran across the U.S. last year, according to Jumpstart.

Study: US car buyers’ satisfaction with domestic brands drops

ANN ARBOR, Mich., - 

While foreign-made vehicles continue to have the highest driver satisfaction, customer satisfaction with American vehicles remains strained, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

“Overall, the gap between international and domestic manufacturers has widened because of the downturn for U.S. cars,” ACSI said in a news release announcing the findings of its ACSI Automobile Report 2017.

Of the 25 automakers the ACSI examined for its latest report, 12 brands have improved from a year ago, and eight have declined.  Four of the eight automakers are domestic brands.

U.S. companies have fallen to a score of 80 on the ACSI scale of 0 to 100, while European Japanese and Korean manufacturers each carry an ACSI score of 82.

Among Detroit automakers specifically, GM is the only brand to improve customer satisfaction this year.

GM leads with an ACSI score of 82, then Ford at 81, followed by Fiat Chrysler at 77, according to ACSI.

While Jeep saw an increase of 3 percent this year, with an ACSI score of 80, the brand trails GM.

Additionally, GM’s GMC, with a score of 84, is the only domestic nameplate to make the ACSI’s top five list.

Seventy-seven percent of the above-average nameplates in the ACSI are foreign imports.

With an ACSI score of 86, Toyota is the highest-scoring automaker this year in both mass-market and luxury-vehicle categories.

Interestingly, Honda’s ACSI score dropped 6 percent this year and joins Chevrolet with a score of 81. Chevrolet saw its customer satisfaction fall by 2 percent.

ACSI surveyed 3,934 customers, chosen at random via email between July 1, 2016, and June 20, 2017, for the report, according to the company.

You can also view the entire report.