• Infiniti tops the list of auto brand attachment.
  • Cadillac ranks second highest among car brands.
  • Other top brands include BMW, Audi and Mercedes.

A new study from strategic marketing firm New Media Metrics says that consumers are more emotionally attached to Infiniti than any other car brand. According to the firm's LEAP Index, which measures how much consumers love brands, Infiniti placed third overall, falling behind the Apple's hot-selling products.

The annual LEAP Index, which stands for Leveraging Emotional Attachment for Profit, placed Cadillac sixth overall, or second among automotive brands after Infiniti. Both automakers recorded major increases over last year's index, when Infiniti finished in 18th place and Cadillac failed to crack the top 25. This year, the brands share the top 10 with Disney Parks at number four, the iPad at number five, Google Search and Google at seven and eight, Apple at number nine and Microsoft Office at number ten.

Of course, Cadillac and Infiniti aren't the only automotive brands that speak to consumer emotions. Other automotive nameplates placing high on the list include BMW at number 13, Audi at 14, Mercedes at 15 and Land Rover at 16th place. Each of those brands saw a slight increase compared to last year's list, except Land Rover, which wasn't tracked in LEAP's 2011 index.

While Infiniti owners are certainly passionate about their cars, the car brand's rank on the list (higher than brands such as BMW and Audi) might come as a surprise to most car shoppers. But the brand's energetic new designs and ample in-car technology likely foster the emotional connection with consumers who often pick Infiniti's models due to such exclusive factors. The same is true of Cadillac, which uses bold styling and exciting interior design to attract shoppers. The automaker also touts advanced technology, including its latest CUE infotainment system, to help buyers form an attachment.

According to New Media Metrics, the LEAP Index uses a proprietary methodology designed to measure emotional attachment to more than 350 brands in 45 categories. While the iPhone took first place in this year's index, the iPod took the top spot in the LEAP Index last year and in 2010, when the study was created.

What it means to you: Luxury auto brands seem to form a high level of customer attachment, and Infiniti tops the list.

author photo

Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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