Toyota, Honda, and Chevrolet were at the top of a recent survey of most-favored cars from CivicScience, but what stood out in the numbers were gains made since 2020 by companies many buyers overlook: Dodge, Nissan and the Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai. Nearly 5.3 million people gave their opinions on the automakers in 2020, followed by 3.3 million people last year. So far this year, some 3 million have weighed in.
While Toyota has a 57% favorability rating this year so far, Honda a 52.5% rating and Chevrolet a 47.7% rating, they weren’t that far ahead of Dodge, Kia, Hyundai and Nissan, which had bigger improvements from 2020 to point to — even if the upticks in favorability comes with a bit of an asterisk in the eyes of an automotive expert.
The improved positions probably owe something to a pandemic-induced shortage of semiconductors for car electronics and resulting shift in car lot inventory, said Joseph Yoon, a consumer insights analyst with Edmunds.
“A lot of other brands that were better-selling all ran out first, [after] their prices went up faster than they did for these four brands,” Yoon said in a Wednesday interview. “People always need cars to buy. And since the top cars weren’t available, they kept looking for cars that were, especially cars that met their budget — because their original budget no longer was viable for the current market.”
For these four brands picking up favorability, “it’s not so much that they’ve become suddenly more popular because they did something great,” Yoon said.
Still, if they didn’t have good vehicles to deliver, they wouldn’t have been able to capitalize on their competitors’ semiconductor woes — particularly in the case of Hyundai and Kia, which have customer loyalty numbers “noticeably above average compared with other mainstream brands, ” Yoon said.
Here are the makers with the biggest growth in favorability since 2020. What do you think of these makers? Tell us in the comments.
Related: Car Buyers Are Paying More Than Sticker Price — Here's How Much