Brand issues grew in importance this month as manufacturers turned to social media in their marketing mix and Ford unveiled pricing for its 2011 Explorer, which has a smaller engine but a higher price tag than its predecessor. (15%). Ford’s decision to risk market share for margins by not offering sales incentives also helped strengthen the quality perception of its brand amongst customers.
Toyota continued to dominate the automotive issues agenda thanks to the ongoing investigations into its safety record in the US. Although public interest in safety stories has waned (7th place- 8%), the continued association of the manufacturer with this negative issue does persist.
“Corporate and sales issues were naturally dominant during this busy period of financial reporting, reflected in our analysis of the automotive issues agenda in July” said Alberto Lopez-Valenzuela, CEO of Alva. “China is still perceived as the saviour for the global automotive industry as Europe looks set to struggle in the second half of 2010 following the end of government incentives. However upward wage and raw material costs, slowing growth coupled with real fears of overcapacity all mean that many manufacturers will continue to struggle in this competitive market.”
Looking forward, Alberto said that although financial results will continue to dominate news in August, the subject of electric vehicles is also likely to increase in prominence following the government backing of incentives for the technology and the release of pricing for GM’s Chevrolet Volt.
Each month, corporate reputation analysis company Alva reports on the biggest reputational risk issues in the Automotive industry using information collected from its daily Alva Automotive In Sight service.
Summary of Automotive Industry Issues in July 2010
Alva analyses content from over 1 million mainstream media, blog, micromedia, forums, brokers notes and social networking sites
Top 10 Manufacturers
General Motors- 7.40%
Top 10 Issues
Ford unveils 2011 Explorer, asks buyers to pay more for less power – 10.84%
GM announces Chevrolet Volt pricing – 7.35%
Toyota sudden acceleration probe has yet to reach conclusion – 11.21%
Toyota subpoenaed by US grand jury over steering defects – 5.33%
Automakers report profitability– 3.82%
Toyota and Ford reach settlement with Paice over hybrid technology – 2.76%
Toyota knew of Lexus engine problems since 2007 – 2.74%
Automakers report increase in sales for June and first half of 2010 – 2.27%
Automakers report surge in China sales for first half of the year – 1.84%
Nissan suspends plants in Japan and the US due to parts shortage – 1.44%
Quality & Service- 13.12%
Emerging markets- 3.31%