Subaru, Tesla winners in Kelley Blue Book's brand image awards

Tesla Model 3

(March 31, 2021) IRVINE, Calif. — Automotive brands are among the most recognized worldwide, capturing attention as car shoppers consider one of life's biggest purchase decisions. Brands that impress consumers generate greater interest and increased positive perceptions, which ultimately can pave the way for increased sales. Recognizing automakers' outstanding achievements in shaping and maintaining brand attributes that earn the attention and enthusiasm of new-car buyers, Kelley Blue Book today announces the 2021 Brand Image Award winners, based on annual new-car buyer perception data.

Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers.

 "Brand perception and purchase consideration are incredibly important factors for automakers to consider as they develop their new products and related marketing communications," said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence for Cox Automotive. "The well-recognized phrase 'perception is reality' frequently rings true in the automotive marketplace. Brands that impress and leave a lasting impression often are the ones to ultimately achieve increased market share. Winners of Kelley Blue Book's Brand Image Awards demonstrate that they are succeeding in capturing the attention of new-car shoppers."

For the second year in a row and the fourth time in the past six years, Subaru wins Best Overall Brand for 2021 among non-luxury automakers. Subaru achieved the highest average score across all ratings of non-luxury models to win the Best Overall Brand. In addition, Subaru takes home specific awards once again this year for Most Trusted Brand and Best Performance Brand.

Subaru impressively has captured the minds of car shoppers as the Most Trusted Brand every year since 2015, and this is the second year running that shoppers named Subaru Best Performance Brand. Subaru's wins are based on the automaker's reputation for delivering safe, spacious, capable, and exceptional quality vehicles that satisfy the needs of both everyday consumers as well as those seeking rugged performance at an affordable price point.

After making a notable Brand Image Awards debut last year, Tesla once again dominates among luxury automakers for 2021. Tesla wins Best Overall Luxury Brand for the second year running, achieving the highest average score across all ratings of luxury models to win the award. In addition, Tesla takes home specific awards this year for Best Value Luxury Brand, Most Refined Luxury Brand and Best Performance Luxury Brand. The unique, sleek design of Tesla's all-electric vehicles combined with its innovative technological advancements and alluring interiors contribute to the brand's success in capturing consumer attention, along with its reputation for value in the luxury segment due to the hugely popular Model 3.

Toyota wins Best Overall Truck Brand in 2021 for the third year in a row. Toyota achieved the highest average score across all ratings of truck models and 12 weighted factors of importance. The brand's Tacoma and Tundra trucks were among the Top 10 vehicles overall this year, and their combined average score pushed Toyota to the top over other truck manufacturers. Tacoma has been the best-selling pickup in its segment for the last 16 years and continues to be at the forefront of consideration growth.

Beyond the top overall brands, other automakers gained notable repeat Brand Image Award wins for 2021. Honda wins Best Value Brand among non-luxury automakers for the seventh consecutive year, and Lexus wins Most Trusted Luxury Brand for the sixth consecutive year. Dodge wins Best Car Styling Brand for the third consecutive year, and GMC wins Most Refined Brand for the second consecutive year among non-luxury automakers. In addition, Porsche returns to the Brand Image Awards winner's circle this year for Best Car Styling Luxury Brand, an award it previously won in 2019.

The 2021 Brand Image Awards are based on consumer automotive perception data from Kelley Blue Book's Brand Watch study. Kelley Blue Book's Brand Watch is an online brand and model perception tracking study, which taps into more than 12,000 in-market new-vehicle shoppers annually on The highly comprehensive study offers insights into how shoppers perceive important factors driving their purchase decisions and captures brand/model familiarity and consideration among new-car shoppers.