Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota top the list of car brands consumers will consider next time they buy according to a new study by Tustin, California-based motor industry researcher AutoPacific.

The measure of future consideration impacts the marketing and positioning of each car and truck brand sold in the United States.

Strong consideration can result from long histories and high market penetration (Ford, Chevrolet), great quality and strengthening sales (Toyota, Honda), and aspiration (BMW, Lexus). Consideration differs among different age categories and between different regions of the country.

For each brand, there is a specific and detailed story that can help predict future health for the brand in the US.

Rounding out the top 10 after Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota are Honda, GMC, Dodge, BMW, Lexus, Acura and Nissan.  Four of the top five brands have a very strong lineup of trucks.  GMC, a truck-only brand selling Professional Grade trucks is fifth confirming the future strength of trucks in the makeup of the United States vehicle market.

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The Big Three rankings are identical (Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota) among each major age category except those over the age of 70 years.  Among the over 70s, Buick moves into third spot behind Ford and Chevrolet, with Cadillac following Toyota in fifth place.

Top 10 consideration for the import luxury brands BMW and Lexus relates to the strong aspiration for each brand.  A buyer may not be able to afford a BMW or Lexus now, but they want one in the future.  While BMW and Lexus track closely across age groups, BMW has a commanding lead in consideration among buyers in their 30s — a group where the Ultimate Driving Machine message resonates very well.

BMW drops out of the Top 10 above the age of 60 and Lexus drops out over 70.  The third major import luxury marque, Mercedes-Benz, ranks in the top 10 only among buyers in their 40s.

Among other age categories Mercedes-Benz ranks substantially below BMW and Lexus.  The older the buyer, the stronger the consideration for Cadillac.
Consideration differs by region.  In New England, the consideration hierarchy is Toyota, Chevrolet, Ford and Honda.  In the South it is Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet and Honda.  In the Mid-West it is Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Toyota, Dodge, Pontiac and Honda.  In Southern California, the consideration hierarchy is Toyota, BMW, Lexus, Ford, Honda, Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz.