The Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards recognize automakers' outstanding achievements in creating and maintaining brands that capture the attention and enthusiasm of the new-vehicle buying public. The 2009 Brand Image Awards, presented to the top brands in 10 categories, are based on consumer opinions collected at kbb.com throughout 2008.
Offering sensible sticker prices, renowned reliability and strong resale performance, Toyota has all three facets of automotive value -- buying, owning and selling -- covered. Smart shopping never goes out of style, and Toyota has built a reputation for building some of the smartest buys on the road.
What's cool to the kids is often irrelevant to their elders. And what's cool to those elders is usually treated as toxic by the kids. Not BMW, though. The German automaker's sporty, stylish and snootier-than-average cars and crossovers are as cool and desirable to not-yet-licensed tweens as they are to young-at-heart retirees.
Brands perceived as family-friendly are usually strong scorers in the value department, too. So it's not surprising to see this year's Best Value Brand also take home a win in the family-vehicle category. Toyota also performs well in safety and offers more three-row vehicles (six of them) than any other brand.
The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the country for 27 years in a row. In a vehicle segment where "best" often equates to "toughest," it would be difficult if not impossible to maintain that kind of track record without building the most rugged truck around.
Fill in the blanks: The Ultimate ______ ______. A key reason that BMW's long-running tagline is so recognizable and effective (as evidenced to some degree by this award), is that its cars consistently deliver on the promise. From the company's high-performance M vehicles to its three-row crossover, every single vehicle wearing a BMW badge is among the quickest, most agile vehicles in its category.
Cadillac's lineup is more athletic than ever, but the brand has been linked with plush ride and whisper quiet so closely and for so long that people continue to equate it first and foremost with comfort. Today, Cadillac vehicles no longer deliver comfort via button-tuftedvelour or wallowing ride, but by more modern means like effortless power and quiet, high-quality interiors that are rich and contemporary.
If there's an underdog winner in this year's Brand Image Awards, this is it. Only a few years ago, the quality and styling inside a Cadillac fell far short of what you'd find in competitors like Audi and Mercedes-Benz. With the introduction of the second-generation CTS sedan, though, Cadillac jumped right back into the game it dominated a few decades ago.
Describing BMW's exterior styling as polarizing is like describing the early 2009 economy as difficult. But as great designs will do, the so-called "flame surfacing" found across the lineup continues to gain more and more acceptance and admiration (and win more awards). Parking next to a BMW, fans of the brand's styling will contend, is a sure way to make most any competitor look boring.
From the iconic Z sports car to the standout Murano crossover and even the Quest minivan, Nissan designs and builds some of the most recognizable vehicles on the road. And underneath all that boldly styled sheetmetal are vehicles that consistently demonstrate above-average athleticism, which only serves to deepen their attractiveness.
Many automotive brands have gone to great lengths to polish their images and convey prestige, but it is still impossible to find an automotive brand regarded as more prestigious than Mercedes-Benz. While the fabled brand offers performance, technology, safety or style, more than that the three-pointed star symbolizes opulence, affluence and luxury.