The Kelley Blue Book is most well known for its informative and data-driven information pertaining to vehicular values, but the firm does a lot more than that. Case in point: Each year, the KBB gathers data supplied by its online shoppers to present the Brand Image Awards, given to companies which go above and beyond in terms of public perception.
“This isn’t just a quick poll or online survey based on how someone feels at that moment,” the site says. “These awards are given based on extensive research gathered throughout the year. The key research vehicle for the Brand Image Awards, Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence’s Brand Watch study, is an online study that taps into more than 12,000 in-market new-vehicle shoppers annually who do their research at KBB.com.”
The research covers both luxury and non-luxury brands, the latter of which we have laid out for you here.
“Representing the combined wisdom of the American car-buying public, the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards recognize automakers’ outstanding achievements in creating and maintaining brand attributes that engender enthusiasm among new-vehicle buyers,” the KBB said. Check out who led where in the awards after the jump.
1. Best Overall Brand: Honda
This year marks the second consecutive year that Honda (NYSE:HMC) has sat in the Best Overall Brand throne. “Considering Honda has also won the award for Most Trusted Brand among non-luxury shoppers three years in a row, this win isn’t a huge surprise,” KBB.com said. Hondas are well known for doing many things well — they are efficient vehicles that offer refinement, comfort, reliability, and build quality.
2. Most Trusted Brand: Honda
KBB’s new car buyers also found Honda to be the Most Trusted Brand, the survey determined for the third year in a row. “The brand is known for building reliable, efficient, safe cars that offer a lot of value when new, and hold that value as used models,” KBB explained. Further, Honda doesn’t have any major recall controversies surrounding it like Toyota or General Motors do at the moment, either.
3. Best Value Brand: Kia
Kia‘s model range now spans everything from economy compacts to luxury sedans, but regardless of which model is bought, it’s likely going to have more standard equipment and more features for the price than virtually any other car on the market. In the past, however, Kia cars were notorious for their poor ability to hold on to their value over time. “Now that Kia’s resale values are competitive, too, the brand offers more value than ever,” KBB observed.
4. Most Refined Brand: GMC
Keep in mind this list excludes the luxury brands, so refinement here is relative. KBB’s voting body decided that GMC’s (NYSE:GM) line of trucks and SUVs. “GMC is now the eleventh-largest vehicle brand in the U.S., and its [high-end] Denali models are a big part of the reason why,” KBB says. Consider it GM’s answer to Land Rover — luxurious and elegant on the inside, and rugged and masculine on the outside.
5. Best Performance Brand: Mini
This choice struck us as a little unusual, since Minis are typically not thought of as performance cars, but KBB made some valid points in Mini’s defense. “Every single car in its lineup is designed to be driven with fun and excitement in mind,” it said. True enough, we suppose. “Even its larger, crossover-like vehicles are built for driving. Mini proves that you can enjoy sporty fun without breaking the bank.”
6. Best Car Styling Brand: Chevrolet
Interestingly, KBB’s respondents decided that Chevrolet was better slotted in the Styling seat than the performance one, despite cars like the Camaro or Corvette. It was actually those cars that awarded the brand the top honors for styling, as well as the renaissance that the rest of the lineup has undergone. “Chevrolet manages to take some chances with its designs, yet keeps its diehard fans happy by staying true to what the brand is all about,” KBB said.
7. Best Overall Truck Brand: Ford
Naturally, the the company making the best selling truck in America was awarded the best overall truck brand award: Ford (NYSE:F), for its legendary F-Series. “The company doesn’t shy away from using new technologies to achieve this, and buyers have continued to reward Ford by keeping the F-Series going strong as the best-selling truck in the U.S. for 37 years — and the best-selling vehicle in America for the last 32.”