More Car Shoppers Consider a Toyota, but Chevy, Ford Are Gaining

A Toyota dealership lit up at duskAbout a third of new-car shoppers in America considered a product from Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, last quarter. But, like a Formula One race in 2023, first place is not an interesting question. The contest is happening further back.

Chevrolet and Ford, second and third, each gained a point on the leader.

Our quarterly Brand Watch Report is a consumer perception survey that also weaves in shopping behavior to determine how a brand or model stacks up with its segment competitors on a dozen factors key to a consumer’s buying decision. We publish separate versions covering the mainstream and luxury car markets.

Toyota has run away with the title among non-luxury cars for all but one quarter of the past five years. Toyota products have almost always won the consideration of about a third of shoppers in that time. In the first three months of 2023, that figure was 32% — down 1% from last quarter, but about where they usually are.

But Chevrolet and Ford each moved up a point. Thirty-one percent of shoppers considered a Chevrolet product. Thirty percent looked at a Ford.

The Top 10 Most-Considered Brands

Brand Percentage of Shoppers Who Considered It
Toyota 32
Chevrolet 31
Ford 30
Honda 21
GMC 14
Hyundai 12
Jeep 11
Kia 11
Nissan 10
Subaru 10

Shoppers Can’t Look at What Dealerships Don’t Have

Why is the field gaining on Toyota? Because shoppers can’t consider what isn’t in stock.

Toyota has among the tightest inventories in the industry this year.

Shopping for popular hybrids — Prius Prime, RAV4 Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid — posted the largest declines among Toyota models. Shopping for the midsize Tacoma pickup truck, which is being replaced soon by a fresh 2024 version, also fell. All Toyota models that lost shopping share are in extremely low supply.

SUVs Dominate

Sixty-six percent of shoppers looked at an SUV last quarter.

Shoppers have so many sport utilities to choose from that they dominated sales without any one model standing out. Just three SUVs made the 10-most-considered list, with none placing higher than fifth.

Pickup Truck Consideration Set a Record

Americans looked at buying more pickups than usual. Of all non-luxury shoppers, 36% considered a truck, which is the highest ever. That was up from 33% in the fourth quarter of 2023 and 35% from the year-ago first quarter.

The signature trucks from the Big Three domestic automakers once again dominated consideration. But there’s a new number one, as more shoppers looked at a Chevy Silverado 1500 than a Ford F-150.

The Top 10 Most-Considered Models:


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