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Luxury Sales to Remain Solid, Forbes Insights Predicts

March 01, 2012

NEW YORK — A study by Forbes Insights revealed that the company anticipates luxury auto sales to stay strong into the foreseeable future.

Using a full year's worth of data from BIGinsight, a consumer insight resource based in Worthington, Ohio, derived from roughly 150,000 consumer interviews conducted in 2011, Forbes Insights created a Luxury Car Buzz Index to rank the leading luxury automotive brands based on a composite score. The score measures customer satisfaction and loyalty, car owners’ propensity to recommend their brand to others, and the effectiveness of marketing efforts in both traditional and digital media, as well as the impact of digital word-of-mouth through social media and blogs.

The 10 brands ranked in the Luxury Car Buzz Index include Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. BMW topped the overall score, while Lexus came in second despite supply problems that resulted from natural disasters in Japan. This reflects strong loyalty among its customers, who recommend the brand to others with particular enthusiasm, according to the study. Lexus won in the Brand Satisfaction category and in the Personal Promotion category.

Audi won the Digital Media category — with BMW a close second — and is generating the most social media buzz, according to the report. BMW won the Traditional Media category as well.

Data from BIGinsight paints a detailed picture of how consumers regard these brands right now, as well as what those consumers intend to do — and buy — over the next six months. To shed light on the strategic direction of these brands and the future of the luxury car market, Forbes Insights interviewed chief marketers and general managers.

Executives interviewed for the study include Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA; Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW North America; Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager of Lexus USA; Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer, Audi of America; Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac; C.J. O'Donnell, group marketing manager, Lincoln; Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for Honda and Acura USA; and Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America.

“Forbes Insights and BIGinsight have partnered to create a unique and forward-looking report on the luxury auto business that presents actionable information for anyone involved in the luxury automotive business,” said Bruce Rogers, Forbes' chief Insights officer.

To view the full study, visit www.forbes.com/forbesinsights.

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