In some situations, what people think about you is more important than who you really are. While we are not suggesting you just whistle a happy tune as you go through life, we at Kelley Blue Book have decades of experience in the fact that perception drives value. Some brands have higher initial value and retain their value better than others because the collective wisdom of the market (read ''consumer perception'') says it should be so. With this in mind we at Kelley Blue Book keep very close tabs on how car buyers feel about cars and the brands that offer them.
A great deal of that knowledge is accumulated in the annual Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards. The market research that forms the basis of the awards examines consumer perceptions about each automotive brand, and the award winners represent those brands that capture the highest level of consumer perception in their individual categories.
The key research vehicle for the Brand Image Awards is Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence's Brand Watch study. Brand Watch is an online study that taps into 12,000+ in-market new-vehicle shoppers who do their auto-related research on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. 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.
2012 Most Trusted Brand: Honda
Without surprising anyone, our inaugural Most Trusted Brand award goes to a name that's practically synonymous with reliability and dependability. Honda's vehicles enjoy a decades-deep reputation as the smart choice in so many of the categories in which it competes.
2012 Best Value Brand: Honda
Many car buyers assume a vehicle's sticker price is the most significant monetary factor when choosing a car. While it's certainly an important consideration, Honda's reputation for superb resale value, exceptional quality and legendary dependability continues to raise the bar in respect to automotive value.
2012 Most Family-Friendly Brand: Ford
Ford's revamped people-shuttling vehicles have struck a chord with those looking to haul growing families and their gear in safety and comfort. The re-invented Explorer has helped lead this effort thanks to its more car-like ride and seating for up to seven, while good looks and roomy interiors have attracted others to the Taurus sedan and Flex crossover.
2012 Best Interior Design Brand, Non-Luxury: Ford
Ford's upscale interior styling seemingly blurs the line between luxury and non-luxury interior design. Overflowing with high-quality materials and the latest high-tech gadgets, Ford interiors break the perceptions of what can be achieved in a mainstream vehicle.
2012 Most Rugged Truck Brand: Ford
In 1925, Ford produced its first ever pickup truck. 87 years later, Ford's F-150 has become the quintessential American truck and the country's best-selling vehicle for three decades. From ranchers to boaters to the everyday Joe, the Ford F-Series offers something for anyone seeking a durable pickup with everyday versatility.
2012 Best Exterior Design Brand, Non-Luxury: Ford
A bold, dynamic exterior design is one of the key ingredients in Ford's recent recipe for success. While Ford's current ''Kinetic'' design language is well received by the American public, the Blue Oval refuses to rest on its laurels. Ford is aiming to shake-up the industry once again with its next-generation global design platform set to debut on the 2013 Fusion.
2012 Best Exterior Design Brand, Luxury: BMW
From the athletic stance of the entry-level 1 Series to the long – and long-on-elegance – 7 Series executive class, BMW has a knack for expressing its cars' inner power and prestige to their exterior sheet metal. Vehicles such as the revamped X3 and hulking X6 crossovers helped this brand and its rounded design philosophy to take the top spot from Cadillac and its more aggressive, angular approach.
2012 Best Interior Design Brand, Luxury: Cadillac
Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com visitors still can't take their eyes off the plush and progressive cabins of Cadillac vehicles, voting them the Best Interior Design among luxury cars for a second year in a row. Boasting features such as suede steering wheels and LCD screens that majestically rise from the dash, Cadillac's interiors adeptly match everyday functionality with visually pleasing form.
2012 Best Comfort Brand: Cadillac
Cadillac has forever been equated with comfort, and that fact still resonates with kbb.com visitors, who voted it the best in class for a second year in a row. While the brand continues to make significant strides in creating more sport-oriented cars, Cadillac hasn't forgotten the plush ride quality that many still equate with its very name.
2012 Best Performance Brand: Porsche
This is Porsche's year to own the award it's traded back and forth with BMW every year since 2009. Uniquely styled and built with an uncompromising focus on driving excitement and enjoyment, Porsche's performance image is rooted strongly in the cars themselves.
2012 Coolest Brand: Porsche
As soon as you say you're cool, you're not. But it always counts when someone else says it, and in the past year a lot of in-market shoppers have cited Porsche as the coolest car brand around. Like a humble world-class athlete, Porsche does its thing better than any other car in the world but never gets loud about it.
2012 Most Prestigious Brand: Mercedes-Benz
Its fifth win in a row, so let's just recap what we've said the past four years: "Mercedes-Benz remains the luxury brand of luxury brands," "it is still impossible to find an automotive brand regarded as more prestigious than Mercedes-Benz" and "there's just something about the three-pointed star and the rich history of sophistication behind it."
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