For many consumers, buying a car is among the largest big-ticket purchases they will ever make. That means trust is crucial for car brands, especially as more auto and mobility options appear in the industry.

To better understand how auto and mobility brands can establish consumer trust, Morning Consult surveyed 4,400 U.S. adults to gauge their overall trust in this industry and to learn how trust is built ­­­— and how it’s broken. Morning Consult also tapped into its flagship platform, Morning Consult Brand Intelligence, to see which auto and mobility brands consumers trust the most.

As an expansion of Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands landscape report, this report explores which auto and mobility brands have garnered the most trust among consumers, along with which brands have the most return customers, how competing brands can replicate that same trust with the U.S. public and how the pandemic has impacted consumers’ buying habits.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

#1

Consumer trust in auto and mobility brands — car brands, car rental brands and ride hailing services — slightly dropped since 2018, but its slow decline can’t solely be attributed to the pandemic.

#2

American and Japanese auto brands have earned the most consumer trust in 2021, with General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet and Toyota Motor Co. in the top two spots. Notably, only one luxury brand (Mercedes-Benz) appears in the top ten most trusted brands.

#3

Ford is the most-owned brand among the U.S. public: 62% of respondents said they have at one point owned the brand. Ford is also the “stickiest” brand, with the highest share of people saying they’ve owned several cars from the brand.

#4

The pandemic at first stalled car buying, and then hugely accelerated it: 40% of U.S. adults who have owned or leased a vehicle said they bought a car in the past year. That figure increases among younger consumers.

#5

Consumers feel safer in ride-hailing apps: Fewer than half of the public in 2018 said they feel safe using a ride-hailing app, compared to 83% today.

#6

About three-quarters (74%) of respondents would stop buying from a car brand if it didn’t honor its warranty. That’s a relatively high share of consumers, compared to other industry-specific reports on trust, who would abandon a brand if trust was broken.

Up Next: Why Brand Trust Matters in Auto & Mobility

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