Honda Civic is most researched vehicle on KBB.com for 2011

Honda Has Three of Top Five Most Researched Vehicles for 2011 on KBB.com

It's a conundrum. Honda gets slammed for having visually boring cars, yet it has three of the top five most researched vehicles on the KBB.com list for 2011.

That strong position by Honda shows that its vehicles are still appealing to the American car buying public and maybe, just maybe, the American automotive media may not quite have its finger on the pulse. Its top three are the Honda Civic at number one, the Honda Accord at number two, and the Honda CR-V at number 5.

The only American car maker to crack the top 5 was Ford with its perennially dominant F-150 pickup truck. Hyundai nailed the number 7 and 8 spots with the Sonata and the Elantra respectively. Toyota came in at 3rd with the new Camry and number 9 with the Prius. Chevrolet had its Equinox at number 9 and the sole German entry in the Top 10 belong to the Volkswagen Jetta at number 10.

Here is the list according to a press release obtained by TorqueNews:

1. Honda Civic
2. Honda Accord
3. Toyota Camry
4. Honda CR-V
5. Ford F-150
6. Hyundai Sonata
7. Hyundai Elantra
8. Chevrolet Equinox
9. Toyota Prius
10. Volkswagen Jetta
11. Nissan Altima
12. Toyota Highlander
13. Honda Odyssey
14. Toyota Corolla
15. Ford Fusion
16. Ford Focus
17. Ford Explorer
18. Toyota RAV4
19. Chevrolet Silverado 1500
20. Ford Escape

As KBB.com points out, "This year's success story is the Hyundai Elantra, entering the top 20 most-researched new vehicles list at No. 7, jumping 29 positions from 2010. Elantra's victory can be attributed to the vehicle's top-rated fuel efficiency, affordability, superior redesign and Hyundai's increased popularity among consumers."

"Hyundai's Elantra resonated with kbb.com visitors earlier this year with its redesign releasing as gas prices were soaring, and due to its styling it remains top-of-mind among new-car shoppers," said Arthur Henry, manager of market intelligence for Kelley Blue Book, in the press release. "Hyundai was able to knock it out of the park two years in rows with the Sonata and now the Elantra, which is maintaining brand loyalty and changing public perception."

KBB.com also ranks the brands with the top interest. Honda may have three of the top 5 individual vehicles but it is its Japanese rival Toyota that holds down the lion's share of interest with Ford nipping on its heels.

Here is the KBB.com 2011 Top Five Brands

1. Toyota with 14.2 percent
2. Ford with 13.5 percent
3. Honda with 12.8 percent
4. Chevrolet with 11.5 percent
5. Hyundai with 7.5 percent

Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chevrolet, Hyundai (respectively) are the top five brands with the highest share of market interest -- defined as the percent of new-car shopper activity for a particular brand -- on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com for 2011.

Making its big appearance this year as a top brand is Hyundai, closing in the fifth position on the 2011 top five most-researched brand list, replacing Nissan from last year. Hyundai's increased popularity among car shoppers can be accounted for in part due to Honda and Toyota delivering their vehicles at a low production rate because of the Japanese tsunami and recent Thai floods. Many consumers turned to Hyundai for their new-car purchase during this time with the lack of vehicles in the marketplace.

Hyundai's roll out of the Equus and Veloster, in addition with the redesign of the Accent and Azera, were also considerable factors that translated into Hyundai's increased market share on kbb.com. The Hyundai Elantra and Sonata had a high level of prosperity this year, which generated brand interest among car shoppers.

Toyota retained its number one spot and the brand's market share increased 1 percent on www.kbb.com. This year, Ford moved up one position to the second brand researched most from 10.2 percent in 2010 to 13.5 percent this year. Honda moved down to number three on the list, while Chevrolet remained the fourth brand researched when compared to 2010.

Significant to this year's list is the absence of luxury brands among the top 20 most-researched new vehicles on kbb.com. The BMW 3 Series held position 18 last year; however, with uneasy economic conditions and rising gas prices during Q1 and Q2 2011, many luxury owners and intenders moved toward non-luxury brands on the site. Rising fuel prices also allowed the hybrid segment to thrive earlier in the year with the Toyota Prius benefitting most, moving eight spots this year to number nine.

"Luxury brands were hit the hardest this year; not one luxury vehicle made it on Kelley Blue Book's 2011 most-researched list," said Henry. "They simply didn't fit into many consumers' budgets, especially with the gas price hike earlier this year."

Since 2004, the Honda Accord, Honda Civic and Toyota Camry remain the top three most-researched new vehicles on kbb.com. While these models remained among the top three again in 2011, several other vehicles entered the list for the first time or shifted position. That shows in some respects that old habits die hard, yet a company like Hyundai can still move up.

Comments

Hondas rule!