Carmakers' Greenness In Blogs

JD Power and Associates got its start many years ago by talking to consumers about automobile quality, but the company has branched out considerably since then. Its latest study, issued this week by the Web Intelligence Division, looks at how car brands are perceived for their environmental sustainability. The answers should concern most auto execs—even those at some brands you might expect to do well.

Studies on this topic as recently as last year, said JD Power’s Averill Doering, just looked at the question, “Is there an issue around how people view a brand’s image of sustainability?” This year, he said, the conversation has moved on. Power’s clients now ask, “What can I do about it?”

To get its ratings, the company looked at a staggering 40 million blog posts over six months on topics like environmental sustainability and global warming. Then they rated brands on perpendicular axes: one for the number of posts, the other for the sentiment expressed in each posts.

The best category, “Pacesetters,” contained the usual suspects, more or less. Toyota had the highest volume, followed by GM, and then Honda—though Toyota was actually viewed less positively than GM, which itself only took a silver for in the popularity contest to Honda’s gold. Doering attributed Toyota’s weaker likeability to a “Prius backlash” its readers observed in the blogs they surveyed.

The interesting point here is that GM isn’t actually a brand. But clearly its corporate efforts around the Chevrolet Volt, its various hybrids (from the Malibu, Aura, and Vue hybrids to the Tahoe and Yukon Two-Mode Hybrids,) its forays into biofuels, and even its “Project Driveway” fuel-cell vehicle programs, all seem to have made a lasting impression.

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  • Bryce

    This is really interesting. Funny that GM, not essentially a brand, did better than Chevrolet, it’s staple brand. Also ironic is that GM did better than Toyota in an online environment that often seems to deride them. I am happy to see Honda take top honors, cuz it certainly seems they deserve it. : )

  • mdensch

    They did an analysis of 40 million Internet blogs and are calling it scientific research???

    Postings on Internet blogs are about as meaningful as graffiti. (And, yes, I recognize the irony of making such a comment on just such a site.)

  • Garret

    I agree that this may not be scientific, but it definitely gives marketers an insight into how effective it is to talk about cars that are in the making. GM pushes so many green cars that will not come out for awhile and it seems to be working.

  • VJ

    I’m surprise that GM got this much recognition. I think it’s all due to their PR stunt. Even their hybrids cars are no way close to Honda or Toyota in MPG. How can you advertise heavily and claim the credit on being Green on something (VOLT) that are still not available to the public?

  • Arizona Auto Insurance

    I am a bit surprised no one has yet suggested that at some point vehicles can no longer be manufactured with steel. The way of the future is for vehicles to be smaller, which means we need less weight in cars.

  • Judy 5722

    if anyone needs a beginners reference article for hybrid cars, i found a pretty easy-to-read one on

  • Maxy

    It’s really interesting. It certainly gives marketers insight into how effective it is to talk about cars that are in the pipeline. New Cars