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Tesla and Chinese brands perceived to be best placed for the shift to EVs

A global poll of new car buyers has assessed their perception of car makers’ ability to survive the shift to electrified powertrains.

The top car manufacturer overall was perceived to be Tesla, followed by the Chinese brands of NIO and BYD. Specifically for EV Leadership, the top brand was Tesla, followed by the Chinese brands of BYD and Lucid Motors.

The poll, conducted by behaviour experts SKIM Group, looked at how car buyers viewed a car manufacturer in four areas: Success (how successful a brand is perceived to be by 2030), Innovation, Sustainability and EV Leadership, with an overall combined Perception score.

Although Tesla tops the list overall, BYD and NIO were joint first in the Success Score league table, ahead of XPeng in third place – all three are Chinese brands.

Chinese brands were also perceived well in the area of sustainability, with the top four in this category being XPeng, NIO, Tesla and BYD.

EV-only brands perform strongly, particularly those from China or with Chinese-backing, thanks to their ability to offer competitive pricing and leading technology. 

However, legacy OEMs from Europe are judged to be struggling the most. The bottom three brands overall that were perceived to be struggling to keep up with the pace of the Electric Vehicle revolution in the eyes of car buyers were Cadillac, Peugeot and Renault.

North American car makers are assessed as being split between the new Californian brands doing extremely well, like Rivian and Tesla, whilst historic Detroit names like Cadillac, Chevrolet and Ford perform poorly. One in five new car buyers surveyed thought that Cadillac may no longer exist by 2030. 

The SKIM PERCEPTION SCORE league tables are detailed below. This research was conducted by SKIM in 2022 through an online survey with a sample of 2,373 respondents.

The SKIM PERCEPTION SCORE league table

This score reflects a combined ranking of:

• Success Score: perceived as doing well or extremely well by 2030 

• Innovation Score: perceived as innovators in the industry

• Sustainability Score: perceived as having strong sustainability credentials

• Leader Score: Perceived as being a leader in Electric Vehicles

1          Tesla  70%

2          NIO     62%

3          BYD    62%

4          X-Peng           59%

5          Rivian 55%

6          Lucid Motors 53%

7          Polestar         51%

8          Audi    46%

9          Toyota            45%

10        Faraday         45%

11        BMW  45%

12        Mercedes      43%

13        Fisker 42%

14        Volkswagen  38%

15        Volvo  37%

16        Byton  37%

17        Hyundai         36%

18        Ford    35%

19        Porsche         34%

20        KIA      33%

21        DS Automobiles       26%

22        Chevrolet       25%

23        Mini     23%

24        Cadillac          22%

25        Peugeot         22%

26        Renault          22%

Success Score

Perceived as ‘doing well’ or ‘extremely well’ by 2030

1          BYD    69%

2          NIO     69%

3          XPeng            62%

4          Tesla  60%

5          Rivian 58%

6          Lucid Motors 55%

7          Polestar         52%

8          Faraday         49%

9          Fisker 47%

10        Toyota            44%

11        Byton  41%

12        Audi    40%

13        Hyundai         40%

14        Volkswagen  40%

15        Mercedes      38%

16        KIA      35%

17        BMW  35%

18        Ford    35%

19        Volvo  34%

20        DS Automobiles       27%

21        Porsche         26%

22        Chevrolet       26%

23        Peugeot         24%

24        Mini     24%

25        Renault          23%

26        Cadillac          23%

Innovation score

Perceived as being innovative

1          Tesla  79%

2          BYD    68%

3          NIO     66%

4          Mercedes      65%

5          Audi    65%

6          BMW  64%

7          Polestar         64%

8          Rivian 62%

9          Lucid Motors 58%

10        Toyota            58%

11        X-Peng           58%

12        Porsche         53%

13        Volvo  51%

14        Ford    48%

15        Hyundai         48%

16        Volkswagen  48%

17        Faraday         48%

18        Fisker 47%

19        KIA      46%

20        DS Automobiles       37%

21        Mini     37%

22        Byton  36%

23        Chevrolet       34%

24        Cadillac          31%

25        Renault          31%

26        Peugeot         31%

Sustainability Score

Perceived as having strong sustainability credentials

1          XPeng            65%

2          NIO     60%

3          Tesla  56%

4          BYD    54%

5          Rivian 49%

6          Lucid Motors 45%

7          Polestar         42%

8          Toyota            40%

9          Byton  38%

10        BMW  35%

11        Faraday         35%

12        Fisker 34%

13        Audi    34%

14        Volvo  32%

15        Hyundai         31%

16        KIA      29%

17        Volkswagen  29%

18        Mercedes      26%

19        Ford    26%

20        DS Automobiles       24%

21        Chevrolet       22%

22        Porsche         20%

23        Mini     18%

24        Peugeot         18%

25        Cadillac          17%

26        Renault          15%

EV Leader Score

Brands perceived as being a leader in Electric Vehicles

1          Tesla  86%

2          BYD    56%

3          Lucid Motors 55%

4          NIO     53%

5          X-Peng           51%

6          Rivian 51%

7          Faraday         49%

8          Polestar         48%

9          Audi    45%

10        BMW  44%

11        Mercedes      43%

12        Toyota            40%

13        Fisker 38%

14        Volkswagen  36%

15        Porsche         34%

16        Ford    32%

17        Volvo  32%

18        Byton  31%

19        Hyundai         27%

20        KIA      22%

21        Cadillac          18%

22        Chevrolet       18%

23        DS Automobiles       17%

24        Renault          17%

25        Peugeot         16%

26        Mini     15%