The automotive industry maintains its #1 ranking out of the 15 industries studied in the 2019 Brand Intimacy Report. Over the last three years, the automotive industry proved the strength of emotional bonds between consumers and automotive brands by ranking above others consistently.

Brand Intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds we form with the brands we use and love. Top Intimate Brands have been seen outperforming top brands in the Fortune 500 for revenue and profit. Consumers are more willing to pay premium prices for Intimate Brands and are less willing to live without them, according to the 2019 report.

Ford has amassed its current popularity by actively applying customer feedback to its lineup and operations.

William Shintani, partner of MBLM, said, “The most intimate car brands elevate the entire industry, scoring the highest in the fulfillment archetype—when a brand outperforms and delivers more—generally associated with services. We can see that brands that deliver great service in pre- and post-sales services will continue to create strong bonds with consumers.”

MBLM collaborated with Praxis Research Partners to conduct an online quantitative survey among 6,200 consumers spread across the U.S. (3,000), Mexico (2,000), and the United Arab Emirates (1,200). The study was designed primarily to understand the extent to which consumers have relationships with brands and the strength of those bonds.

The study revealed some interesting statistics regarding car brands around the world. Ford clinched the numero uno position in the lineup, followed by Mercedes-Benz at #2 and Audi at #3. Lexus, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi make up the Top 10, in that order.

Furthermore, Ford ranks #1 among female users and high-income groups, while BMW ranks highest for male drivers. Honda is the most popular among users between 35-64 years of age. Mercedes-Benz is preferred by millennials, aged 18-34 years. Ford’s real achievement lies in the fact that it has reached the top spot from being #5 in 2018. Lexus and BMW held #1 and #2 positions in 2018, each slipping three spots this year.

Toyota is at the forefront of customer retention through its multiple discilpines of production, quality management, and customer satisfaction.

An automotive brand’s success can be measured by various parameters, one of the factors being its perceived indispensability. In this regard, Toyota tops the chart with 18.8 percent of study participants considering Toyota to be the most essential (a brand consumers can’t live without) automotive brand, which is 8.4 percent above the industry.

When it comes to stirring up emotions, or, in the carmaker’s own words, delivering sheer driving pleasure, BMW is the clear winner. 62.5 percent of users made an immediate emotional connection with BMW, which is 19.7 percent above the industry average.

It’s not hard to understand why the automotive industry tops the list of brand intimacy. From offering means of transport to machines of pure passion and desire, the industry plays in a wide spectrum. Design and technological innovations within the industry are primarily dictated by consumer trends, meaning that car buyers are at the centre of the ecosystem.

Carmakers keep on trying out new ideas to attract consumers to their brand, in the process strengthening the relationship with the end user. The automotive industry thrives on a healthy relationship between a brand and its user base. The stronger the emotional connect, the higher will be the intimacy.