Car Makers’ Dilemma: Translating Buzz into Purchase Consideration

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
April 20, 2016, 1:06 PM GMT+0

Young electric car company Tesla Motors has some of the best perception levels for both millennials and adults age 35+ – but consideration to buy one is a lot lower.

This disparity in measurements poses a challenge for Tesla and other car makers that have been around a for lot longer: how to translate lots of buzz and talk into the actual desire to purchase.

In Tesla’s case, the lower consideration scores may be driven by a combination of a less developed traditional distribution network and uneven development of the infrastructure to support electric cars.

Veteran luxury German car brand BMW is in a similar situation. It is ranked in the top 10 best perceived car brands by both demographic groups, but doesn’t place on either chart for purchase consideration. Lexus presents the same unbalanced scenario with adults 35+. Price may be the primary challenge that lowers consideration for these brands.

Buick’s Dilemma, VW’S Durability

Millennials have effectively “replaced” Tesla and BMW in their top 10 brands for purchase consideration with Hyundai and even crisis-plagued Volkswagen.

Adults 35+ have an even bigger disparity between the car makers they perceive best and the ones they’d actually consider buying from: not only are Tesla and BMW out of their top 10 in purchase consideration, but so are perception high flyers Buick and Lexus. “Replacing” them on the purchase consideration chart are Dodge, GM, Hyundai and Kia. Especially notable is the fact that Buick is not a luxury brand, like Tesla, BMW and Lexus.

Best Perceived Car Brand Comparisons

In addition to Tesla and BMW, seven other top 10 perceived car brands are shared by both demographics, including Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Dodge, and Ford. Dodge is on the millennial ranking, while Buick only appears on the adults 35+ list.

Ford perception levels are almost twice as high with the older demographic as with millennials.

YouGov BrandIndex measured all major car brands with two metrics: for perception, it used Buzz, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"; and Purchase Consideration, which asks respondents is "When you are in the market next to purchase a car, from which of the following brands would you consider purchasing?”

Buzz score can range from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position.
Purchase Consideration is measured from 0 - 100%.


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Purchase Consideration