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More New Car Buyers Consider Toyota

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author photo by Autotrader December 2010

According to a recent study, Toyota is back on top – at least among new car shoppers. Kelley Blue Book’s quarterly Market Intelligence Brand Watch study once again named Toyota the most-considered car brand, a title the automaker held consistently but relinquished to Ford last year as recalls mounted.

Released Monday, the study found that 25 percent of buyers considered a Toyota vehicle during the third quarter of 2010. While that number represented only a modest jump over Toyota’s second-quarter finish of 22 percent, it was enough to unseat Ford, which dropped from 29 percent in the second quarter study to a close second at 24 percent. Honda came in third, also nipping at Toyota’s heels with 23 percent.

“The latest Brand Watch data from Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence indicates that Toyota is slowly recovering from its public perception crisis and regaining a position of prominence in the minds of new-car shoppers,” said James Bell, executive market analyst for KBB.com. “However whether Toyota will ascend as high as it was before the recall crisis remains yet to be seen.”

To stay on top, Toyota will need to keep an eye on mounting competition. Several brands surged in popularity with this quarter’s study, with Mitsubishi taking home honors among the “cool factor/vehicle image” category, and Subaru leading in “safety” and “versatility/flexibility” categories. Additionally, Ford and Honda continue to cement their top spots on the most-considered list by releasing new models, with Jeep and Nissan surging for their SUV offerings.

“Hot competition from the likes of Ford, Honda, Chevrolet, Nissan, and Hyundai could make it very hard for Toyota to keep a strong lead moving forward,” said Bell, noting Toyota’s vulnerable position at the top. Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Nissan finished third, fourth, and fifth in the study.

Among luxury brands, BMW remained the most-considered, with Lexus, Audi, Acura, and Mercedes-Benz trailing. Lexus continued its domination in the luxury SUV segment, though Acura, Cadillac, Lincoln, and BMW have narrowed the automaker’s lead in recent quarters.

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Used 2011 Toyota Sienna Limited
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Used 2011 Toyota RAV4 Limited
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$13,505
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Used 2011 Toyota Venza AWD
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$14,848
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More New Car Buyers Consider Toyota - Autotrader