In a survey conducted by Consumer Reports magazine and voted on by U.S. consumers, Ford Motor Co. matched Toyota Motor Corp. as the most favorably viewed auto brand.
In the last couple of years, Ford has gone up 35 percentage points, while Toyota has fallen 46 points, leaving the automakers “in a statistical dead heat.”
Toyota suffered from the recalls worldwide during the past two years. On the other hand, Ford, the only major U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy, improved its reputation for safety, quality and value.
In a statement, Consumer Reports said that Ford “built on the momentum” perceived in last year's study, believed to be because of a model lineup with improving performance, reliability and styling. Toyota’s image was tarnished by the massive recalls, according to the poll.
Consumer Reports said that safety, quality, and value remain to be the most important factors for consumers who are looking for a new car.
However, the magazine pointed out that Toyota kept a significant lead in ‘environmentally friendly/green’ -- a survey category that continues to be less important to consumers.
Toyota leads the category by a large margin, with a score of 46, compared to Ford’s second-place finish with a score of 18. The magazine said that if Toyota wasn’t very far ahead in the green category, Ford would have clearly claimed the top overall score.