According to the Kelley Blue Book's first-quarter Brand Watch report, Chevrolet made gains on Toyota as consumers’ shopping and consideration of pickup trucks soared to record highs.
The report, which combines consumer perception and shopping behavior for nonluxury vehicles, assessed how brands and models compare to competitors by comparing key factors influencing buying decisions.
The research revealed Chevrolet and Ford had narrowed the gap with Toyota, largely because of improved inventory availability.
Still, Toyota ranked as the most-shopped nonluxury brand for the fifth consecutive quarter, with 32% of nonluxury vehicle shoppers considering one of its models. However, the automaker’s tight inventory may have led some shoppers to explore other brands.
Shopping for popular Toyota models, such as the Prius Prime, RAV4 Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid, significantly declined. Consumers interested in the midsize Tacoma pickup truck also declined as the model awaits a 2024 redesign.
Chevrolet’s shopping percentage increased to 31% among nonluxury shoppers, driven by strong interest in SUVs, such as the Suburban and Trailblazer, and the newly redesigned midsize Colorado pickup truck. Ford ranked third in shopping, with a 30% consideration rate, fueled by increased interest in the Escape Hybrid, Maverick Hybrid and Explorer.
Other brands experienced mixed results. Honda lost a percentage point of shopping share, plummeting to an all-time low of 21%, largely because of low inventory levels. Ram's abundant supply and above-average incentives for the 1500 pickup truck increased consumer consideration. Nissan saw the most significant decline, dropping three percentage points to a 10% consideration rate, with decreased interest in the Pathfinder, Altima and Murano models.
In terms of segment consideration, pickup trucks achieved a record high of 36% among nonluxury shoppers. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was the most-shopped pickup truck, surpassing the Ford F-150, while the GMC Sierra 1500 took third. Midsize trucks also gained traction, with General Motors launching redesigned versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and Toyota introducing the revamped Tacoma for 2024.
SUVs held their place as the most-shopped body style, with 66% of nonluxury shoppers considering them. Consumers shopped most often for the following SUVs: Dodge Durango, Honda CR-V, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Toyota RAV4.
Just 32% of nonluxury shoppers looked for traditional cars. Still, market share for traditional cars increased as budget-concious shoppers sought more affordable transportation. Consumers who shopped for cars were most often looking for the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang.
Ram led in seven categories important to nonluxury shoppers, including driving comfort, driving performance, interior layout, exterior styling, prestige/sophistication, technology, and tuggedness.
Honda received the 2023 Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Award for Best Overall Non-Luxury Brand and Best Value Brand. It also ranked first in fuel efficiency, safety, durability/reliability, affordability, and reputation.
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