How 3 Top Car Brands Became America's Favorites

May 28, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Top 3 Car Makes of 2019

A recent deep dive into auto warranty inquiries in 2019 revealed that the top three car brands with the most cars currently on the road in America are Chevrolet, Ford and Nissan. 

These heritage brands have massive brand awareness after existing in the minds of American consumers for decades, but creative advertising campaigns and multichannel strategies are essential for car brands to stay top of mind for consumers. A great product, including new models and emergent technologies, must be effectively promoted to maintain awareness, build engagement and create car purchase intent.

Chevrolet Relies Heavily On Relatable Marketing Of Their Trucks And Crossovers

The Chevy Silverado is the best selling vehicle for Chevrolet, and the brand leans heavily on the success of the truck in their branding and marketing. The Chevy Equinox is their number two, and like so many crossovers and compact SUVs in the automotive market, the Equinox has been successful for the brand when marketing to families. 

Chevy has been airing commercials since 1948, and their commercials remain ubiquitous across the nation. The latest Chevy Silverado commercial, “Behind Us,” includes real truck owners, boasts the latest truck tech and leaves the competition “in the rearview.” Similarly, the 2020 Equinox commercial “How it Works” features real kids trying to answer questions about safety features on the SUV. By featuring real people, the brand is seen as more relatable, while still skillfully sharing the strengths of Chevy’s vehicles. 

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, which made it difficult for people to purchase cars, Chevy launched the Chevy Cares campaign, with spots airing across channels. The campaign promises Chevy will offer favorable rates, home delivery and CDC-approved cleaning services for all their cars, so that their customers can get back on the open road. By staying connected to what consumers want, and offering relatable messaging, Chevrolet makes car buyers feel seen and heard, which encourages lasting loyalty.

Ford Leans Into Its Iconic History With Inspirational Messaging And Smart Technology

Considered one of the most patriotic, valuable and recognizable brands in America, Ford’s reputation is at the heart of much of their branding. The name alone conjures hard working Americans, whether they are making trucks or driving them. Recently, Ford (along with GM and other top brands across verticals) pivoted to manufacturing medical supplies and PPE for hospitals and frontline workers during coronavirus, and the brand’s latest commercials successfully combine Ford’s social responsibility with their intention of getting back to work making cars and trucks. The spots effectively harness the imagery and language that has long been identified with Ford’s branding. The new ads are airing nationally and across social media, a channel within which Ford has long been a leader among car brands. 

The Ford F-150 has been the best selling vehicle in America for 40 years, and it epitomizes the Ford tagline “Built Ford Tough.” Recent commercials have touted the combination of smart and strong that the F-150 offers, with new smart technology as the centerpiece of the spots. Ford also incorporates its smart technology into the Ford Pass, an app that “lets [Ford drivers] earn complimentary maintenance and puts Rewards, roadside assistance and connectivity in the palm of your hand.” Ford’s image is that of an iconic, American brand, but by staying agile across channels and leaning into smart technology, Ford is able to connect with wider audiences, while retaining its brand identity.

Safety And Future Innovations Drive Nissan Marketing And Advertising

The Nissan Altima is one the most popular cars in America, and it has been widely used in Nissan’s commercials to promote the car maker’s Intelligent Mobility feature, which alerts drivers to incoming cars and other obstacles. Nissan’s focus on technology was also reflected at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where the brand debuted a battery powered car, and in the latest 2020 models from Nissan, like the new Sentra. Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson is starring in commercials for the new Nissan Sentra, with the “Refuse to Compromise” campaign promoting the skills of the smart-tech, NissanConnect enabled Sentra and “Go Girl” messaging, encouraging women to also refuse to compromise. 

For car makers, brand recognition goes beyond just capturing the attention of consumers. Car brands, including Chevrolet, Ford and Nissan, must constantly be innovating and implementing new marketing strategies that successfully align with their brand image, new products and consumer expectations. 

For more information on the top car brands that command the most market share in America, download the free Top 10 Car Makes Of 2019 Snapshot Report.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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