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Consumers still don’t support financial assistance for automotive industry; Domestics rank well for next vehicle consideration but brand erosion could be next


DETROIT — According to a new survey by Synovate Motoresearch, part of top 10 global market research firm Synovate, the majority of Americans continue to be opposed to financial assistance from the US government for domestic automotive manufacturers. Despite this, almost 30% claim they will likely consider a domestic vehicle for their next new vehicle purchase.

The survey, conducted December 5th through 9th, found that 64% of Americans are not in favor of the government providing financial assistance to the Detroit 3, even despite the recent Congressional hearings. Of those who think assistance should be given, 27% said all of the big three should receive help while 6% cited only General Motors and 4% said just Ford. Chrysler was listed as the manufacturer that least deserved financial assistance, at only 3%.

Scott Miller, CEO for Synovate Motoresearch said, “We’re seeing consumer opposition to financial assistance for the domestic automotive manufacturers continuing to go up. It’s apparent that the hearings and all the attention around this hasn’t helped the situation as consumers still aren’t sure if this is the right direction.”

When reviewing the results by age, it’s clear that younger respondents overall are more supportive of the government providing financial help to the manufacturers. Survey respondents based in the southern US are least likely to support financial assistance while those in the Midwest are more in favor of it. Those with lower household incomes are also more supportive of government assistance.

Interestingly, while consideration of domestic brands is strongest for the youngest and oldest consumers, support for import brands is more balanced across age groups.

Even though brand support is weakening, consumers agree that many of them will consider the Detroit 3 for their next new vehicle purchase. Toyota ranked highest at 36%, followed by GM and Honda at 29% each, and Ford at 23%. Chrysler and Nissan ranked a bit lower at 17% each while Volkswagen, Hyundai and BMW were selected by 10% or less of respondents.

Among domestic brands, Americans say they would most consider General Motors (29%), followed by Ford (23%) and Chrysler (17%). Eighteen percent of respondents said they would not consider a domestic brand at all.

Not surprisingly, Toyota and Honda were ranked as the top two import brands, at 36% and 29% respectively, followed by Nissan at 17%.

“The real question here is what’s going to happen next?” said Miller. “I think people are going to be much more wary about buying domestic vehicles overall. When shopping for a new vehicle they’re now going to wonder about the future financial stability of the manufacturer, if there will be a warranty, if car parts and service will be available down the road. The current environment unfortunately will lead to a serious erosion of the brand. Regardless of whether government loans are received, these manufacturers will have big challenges when it comes to marketing the vehicles, not to mention the impact of the residual values, which will make it more expensive to buy cars to begin with.”

The survey was conducted with 1,000 consumers ages 18+ in the US using Synovate eNation, Synovate’s national omnibus research service.

For more information on Synovate Motoresearch visit

Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 6,000 staff across 62 countries.

For more information on Synovate visit


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