According to a recent study by b2b agency gyro, despite massive advances in Ford’s design, technology, branding and product lines, Henry Ford’s famous idiom ‘any colour you like, as long as it’s black’ seems to have struck a cord with UK consumers over 107 years later.
Ford was named the UK’s favourite car marque in gyro’s inaugural branding study, entitled ‘Brandconomics.’ The research in association with YouGov measures the power and impact of brand on everyday product categories by levelling the play field through the removal of product differentiation or cost-leadership. In this case consumers were asked to choose their favourite mid-range car brand on the understanding that all cars were the same – autonomous in colour, price, engine size, model, interior, performance etc. They made their decision purely on brand perception.
Of the 2,361 consumers that were surveyed over a quarter (26 per cent) chose Ford. The brand was particularly favoured by 35-44 year olds and more men than women chose it as their car of choice.
The second most popular brand was Vauxhall, with 17 per cent of consumers selecting it as their favourite mid-range vehicle. More women than men were found to choose a Vauxhall and the marque was particularly popular amongst 45-64 year olds.
‘The Drive of Your Life’ Peugeot was ranked only third with 10 per cent of UK consumers saying this was their preferred car. Peugeot also appealed more to females, but attracted a younger, more urban audience to Vauxhall (18-24, London). Citroen was also found to be the mid-range car of choice for Londoners, again appealing to a younger audience, but this time typically male. Generally however, French marque Citroen performed the worst of all the brands, with only four per cent selecting it as their favourite mid-range car choice.
Other findings included BMW-owned Skoda (seven per cent) being a key brand for the retired. Its relatively recent repositioning as an honest, reliable option clearly resonated strongly in this market. Whilst Renault’s sexier ‘Va Va Voom’ attracted young, full-time mums… nothing to do with a certain French footballer…
Richard Perry, chief operations officer at gyro, comments: “Cars are a high involvement purchase, which means competition amongst automotive manufacturers is fierce. If you miss your chance in all likelihood you’ve lost that customer for another five years. Therefore decades of branding, positioning and segmentation have succeeded in differentiating a predominately similar offering. When you strip mid-range cars down to their performance, price and features, very little actually exists to separate them – what does in the consumer mind is the brand perception.”
“This report fascinates me as it concerns nothing but strength of brand, showcasing the pure power of the marketer in shaping consumer purchasing decisions. Of particular interest is the inclusion of Skoda in the study. Just a few decades ago Skoda was the butt of many a joke and yet it is now perceived as a reliable and honest offering. If we were to repeat this in the future it would be interesting to see whether the marque will gain even more ground.”