Subaru was named the best overall brand for 2021 due to vehicles like the Crosstrek.

Anyone who’s been hunting for a new vehicle has gotten some form of advice about what brand they should buy because “it’s the best.” Well, Kelley Blue Book knows a least a little bit about cars, and the organization got a few suggestions: Subaru, Tesla and Toyota.

Subaru of America Inc. received the 2021 Best Overall Brand honor — for the second consecutive year. It was one of three awards it captured as part of the automotive website’s annual Brand Image Awards. The company also took home Most Trusted Brand and Best Performance Brand honors.

Brand awareness is one of the keys to success in a business as highly competitive as the auto industry,” KBB’s editors noted. “Shoppers need to know a company’s name and hold it in high enough regard to add to their shopping lists.”

Automakers like awards

“These honors recognize those brands that can create awareness and excitement around their product lines. It’s an ability that leads to success in the market,” website noted. KBB Brand Image Awards use the opinion from more than 12,000 in-market, new-vehicle shoppers. These consumers who extensively research their vehicle purchase on

The Subaru Outback keeps the automaker’s profile high along with attracting new buyers.

KBB then follows this audience through our annual Brand Watch Study which compiles consumer trends and attitudes on new vehicles available today. However, automakers it’s another way to add to their message with consumers.

Subaru was joined by Tesla, which captured four awards, including Best Overall Luxury Brand, Best Value Luxury Brand, Most Refined Luxury Brand and Best Performance Luxury Brand. The other winners included:

  • Best Value Brand: Honda
  • Most Refined Brand: GMC
  • Best Styling Brand: Dodge
  • Most Trusted Luxury Brand: Lexus
  • Best Styling Luxury Brand: Porsche
  • Best Truck Brand: Toyota

Marketing tool for automakers

Thomas Doll, president and CEO for Subaru of America Inc., called the KBB awards a testament to great products offered by Subaru.

Subaru’s Tom Doll said the awards help the brand reach out to younger buyers, the lifeblood of all automotive brands looking to grow sales.

“In the six non-luxury categories, Subaru took home three,” Doll said. “We are the most trusted brand for the seventh consecutive year. We are the best performance brand for the second consecutive year. 2021 looks to be a good year for Subaru,” Doll said. “It looks like we’ve almost completely recovered from the COVID pandemic.”

And Subaru has been able to position its four core products – the Crosstrek in the small SUV category; the Forester in the compact SUV category; and the Outback and the Ascent in the mid-size SUV category – into strong positions with the public as SUVs become more popular.

“We think very highly of the KBB awards,” Doll said. “Being ‘most trusted’ for six, now seven years in a row means a lot. We use that designation in our advertising. And we use it online and in social media. That’s where the young people are.”

Reaching young people helps Subaru sell its compact SUVs to people just getting their first cars. Which is a great way to build a loyal customer base.

“Even if someone wasn’t going to buy a Subaru, them knowing about the KBB awards helps create a good image of our products,” Doll said. “SUVs are getting more popular and Subaru has been offering All Wheel Drive (AWD) since the 1970s. We went exclusively AWD in the early 1990s. We are positioned to do well in the growing SUV market and the KBB awards help us get that message out.”

Others tout the honors

Subaru wasn’t alone in letting folks know it was happy about the award. The other award winners were quick to highlight the honor, including their own experts to support the wins.

“Dodge represents quintessential American muscle through and through,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research, market intelligence and pricing strategy for Cox Automotive, in a release issued by Dodge.

“Aggressive exterior styling with unique heritage design cues immediately draws consumers to the brand. That styling is matched perfectly to unrivaled performance under the hood. Dodge is true to its brand from its styling to its performance.”

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