Harris Interactive conducted research to understand the values that adult consumers from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain associate with the vehicle brands.
Key findings from the study include:
In the five European markets surveyed overall, consumers regard Mercedes-Benz (1st), BMW (2nd) and Audi (3rd) as the top three car manufacturers in terms of overall brand quality. Fourth on the list is Volvo, the only non-German brand to make it into the top five on the overall list, while Volkswagen takes the fifth spot.
Only two of the European markets surveyed have Japanese brands in their top five lists for overall brand quality (Lexus 3rd in the UK and Toyota 5th in Italy).
Among the 21 automobile brands measured, Fiat is considered to be the worst brand for overall quality in the five European markets surveyed except in its home market, where Italians have only a poorer opinion of Skoda.
Skoda is amongst the worst five brands across all five European markets, as is Hyundai. Citroen escapes only in France.
In most countries the indigenous brands are rated more favourably. However, a notable exception is the UK, where Rover follows closely behind Fiat as the second worst brand in terms of overall quality.
Prestigious German cars, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, are on the overall top five lists for brands that convey the values of success and financial security. However, they do not make the lists for brands that convey the values of family, freedom or sociability.
A third (33%) of European adults surveyed believes Alfa Romeo conveys a sense of freedom to consumers.
After Alfa Romeo, it is mainly the Far Eastern brands, including Honda (27%), Mazda (26%), Toyota (24%), Hyundai (20%), which signify freedom to consumers.
Some mass market manufacturers (Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, Renault and Skoda) convey family values to Europeans surveyed overall, while others, particularly Fiat, Hyundai, Citroen and Peugeot, imply sociability, but for many, not financial security or success.
Consumers are more likely to associate family values with cars manufactured or badged in their own countries. So, in Italy, Fiat conveys the strongest family values; in France, Peugeot, Renault and Citroen; in Germany, Volkswagen comes in third on the list after Ford and Vauxhall/Opel, and likewise, Rover in the United Kingdom.