Commentary & Voices
Q4 2022 Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch Non-Luxury Report: GMC, Chrysler and Trucks Shine
Tuesday February 7, 2023
- GMC attracted an all-time high number of shoppers on the strength of the Sierra pickup truck.
- Pickup trucks dominated the Top 10 list of most-shopped vehicles.
- Chrysler brand ranks tops in four categories for the first time.
Shopping consideration for GMC vehicles hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter as pickup trucks showed strength, according to the most recent Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report on non-luxury vehicle shopping.
The Kelley Blue Book 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. Kelley Blue Book produces the quarter Brand Watch reports for non-luxury and luxury brands and assesses shopping for electrified vehicles. The methodology includes surveying both mobile and desktop users instead of only desktop users.
GMC Shopping Consideration Hit a New High
Shopping consideration for most non-luxury brands held steady or slipped in the fourth quarter. The only gainers were GMC, Chevrolet, Dodge and Mitsubishi.
The most notable was GMC. Shopping consideration for the General Motors brand posted the biggest gain among all nameplates, leading to the brand’s highest consideration ever. Of all non-luxury vehicle shoppers, 14% considered a GMC, up 2 percentage points from the third quarter. GMC ranked as the fifth most considered non-luxury brand, its highest-ever ranking.
GMC likely benefitted from a general increase in luxury-vehicle shopping in Q4, as many GMC products are priced in luxury territory and are crossed shopped by some luxury shoppers. Truck shopping also increased notably in Q4, again benefitting a brand that only sells trucks, and interest in Hummer products continue to grow, which drives additional GMC shopping traffic. GMC was buoyed as well by interest in the Sierra 1500 full-size pickup, the fourth most-shopped truck of any size. New heavy-duty versions of the 1500, which will go on sale later this year, were promoted online at the end of October. Overall, shopping for the Sierra increased by 24%, the highest increase among the most-shopped models.
Quarterly Brand Consideration
Chevrolet also rode the truck wave, boosting its overall shopping consideration by 1 percentage point to 30% of all non-luxury shoppers considering the brand. The heavy-duty versions of the Silverado had a 16% gain in shopping consideration.
As the second-most shopped brand, Chevrolet narrowed the gap with leader Toyota, which had a 2-percentage point decline in shopping consideration to 33% of all non-luxury shoppers. Camry consideration fell 10%, while the Tacoma pickup had a small gain.
Chevrolet pulled ahead of Ford by a single percentage point. Ford lost a percentage point of shopping consideration despite decent gains in shopping for Ford’s F-150 and its F-Series Super Duty models.
Like Toyota, Honda had a 2-percentage point drop in shopping consideration. Gains in shopping for the CR-V could not offset deep falloffs in shopping for the Civic, down 17%, and Accord, down 30%. Honda is beginning delivery of the new Accord, so shopping for the new model may rebound.
Toyota and Honda have had some of the lowest inventories over the past year due to the global chip shortage. That, too, may be hurting their shopping consideration. Also tight on supply, Hyundai lost 2 percentage points of shopping consideration, with Kia and Subaru each losing one percentage point. Jeep, which has an overabundance of inventory, also lost a point of shopping consideration, so it’s no surprise that incentives are climbing again.
Besides GMC and Chevrolet, Dodge gained a point of shopping consideration on increased interest in the Durango SUV. Mitsubishi picked up a point due to more shopping for the Outlander and Mirage.
Pickup Trucks Dominated the Top 10 Most-Shopped List
Shopping consideration for trucks picked up in the fourth quarter, the only segment to gain. A third of all non-luxury shoppers considered a truck, up from the third quarter but off from the year-ago fourth quarter.
Most vehicles on the list of Top 10 most shopped vehicles were pickup trucks.
The Ford F-150 retained its spot as the most-considered non-luxury model overall. Indeed, Ford’s F-series held onto its title of best-selling truck line in the U.S. for the 46th consecutive year in 2022.
Top 10 Models Considered
Other trucks that made the Top 10 of all non-luxury vehicles were the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at No. 2, Toyota Tacoma at No. 4, GMC Sierra 1500 at No. 5, Ford Super Duty F-250/F-350/F-450 at No. 8 and Silverado 2500/3500 Heavy Duty trucks tied for No. 10.
Shopping for Traditional Cars Retreats on Lower Gas Prices, Supply
After surging in the second and third quarters of 2022 with hikes in gas prices, shopping for traditional cars retreated. Of all non-luxury shoppers, 36% considered a car, down from 40% in the third quarter but still up from 31% in the year-ago fourth quarter. Inventory shortages of the most popular car models may also have contributed to lower car shopping.
Quarterly Segment Consideration
The top five most-shopped cars were generally the usual suspects – Honda Civic, which climbed back to the No. 1 spot, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, all of which saw significant drops in shopping. The Toyota Corolla fell off the list. Instead, the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger, both in their last year in their current form, rounded out the Top 5 most-shopped car list.
Three cars made the Top 10 most shopped list among all body styles – Honda Civic at No. 6, Toyota Camry at No. 9 and Honda Accord, tied for No. 10.
As always, SUVs remained the most-shopped category, with 67% of non-luxury shoppers considering them, a percentage that has held steady for many quarters. The Top 5 most-shopped SUVs were the Honda CR-V, Dodge Durango, Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid and the Subaru Outback, which returned to the list after a year-long absence. The Chevrolet Tahoe fell out of the top five.
Among the Top 10 most considered models regardless of body style, only two SUVs made the list – the Honda CR-V at No.3 and Dodge Durango at No. 6. Supply constraints for some of the most popular ones, like Toyota RAV4, likely led to being pushed off the list.
Minivans also held steady at 5% of shoppers considering them. The Top 5 of a short list of available minivans were, in order, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Kia Carnival MPV.
Chrysler Brand Takes Home Most Top Honors
The ranking of the dozen factors most important to non-luxury shoppers making their vehicle choice has remained unchanged for the past five years, except that Fuel Efficiency has become more important than Reputation on the list. Staying in the same order of the rankings, other factors that have gained more importance over time are Driving Performance, Fuel Efficiency, Interior Layout, Technology, Exterior Styling, Ruggedness, and Prestige/Sophistication.
Factors Driving Non-Luxury Consideration
In the fourth quarter of 2022, another Stellantis brand captured the most honors, but this time, not Dodge or Ram, as in recent quarters, but Chrysler. Despite having only two basic models, Chrysler took top honors for Affordability, Driving Comfort, Interior Layout and Prestige/Sophistication. It was the most top spots Chrysler had ever captured. Chrysler also took two third-place spots in Technology and Exterior Styling.
Ram lost its lead in Driving Comfort, Driving Performance, Interior Layout, Exterior Styling and Prestige/Sophistication to other Stellantis brands, notably Chrysler and Dodge. Ram still ranked tops for Technology and Ruggedness and took four second-place spots and two third places.
Subaru held its top spot in Safety and was No. 2 for Affordability and Reputation. Honda maintained No. 1 in Fuel Efficiency, followed by Toyota and Hyundai. Toyota, again, took top spots in Durability/Reliability and Reputation, followed by Subaru and Honda.
GMC, which had a surge in shopping, captured a second-place spot in Prestige/Sophistication and a No. 3 spot in Driving Performance and Ruggedness. Jeep was No. 2 in Ruggedness.
Michelle Krebs is executive analyst at Cox Automotive.