SOURCE: BrandIntel

January 28, 2008 09:51 ET

BrandIntel Names Winners of the Third Annual Automotive Consumer Voice Awards

Awards Honor Best-in-Class Vehicle Brands as Determined by Online Consumer-Generated Content

TORONTO--(Marketwire - January 28, 2008) - BrandIntel, a leader in online market intelligence solutions, today announced the winners of its third annual Consumer Voice Awards™. The awards recognize top vehicles according to consumer discussions and sentiment across seven vehicle segments, as expressed online via blogs, discussion forums and other social media outlets. Winners are based on BrandIntel's consumer sentiment index, which takes into account over 200 vehicle attributes such as quality, safety, performance, style and reliability. Major model redesigns attributed to several vehicle wins this year, with five out of seven awards going to automotive brands who revamped both interior and exterior vehicle features. Nissan and GM brands ranked the highest in two categories, making them new winners in each of their respective segments.

The complete list of 2008 Consumer Voice Award winners includes:

--  Best Compact Car -- Mitsubishi Lancer
--  Best Large Pickup -- Nissan Titan
--  Best Midsize SUV -- Mercury Mariner
--  Best Minivan -- Dodge Grand Caravan
--  Best Sport Tourer -- Nissan Rogue
--  Best Standard Sedan -- Chevrolet Malibu
--  Best Entry Luxury Sedan -- Cadillac CTS
    

Key findings from the report include:

--  Consumers' positive response to the newly redesigned Mitsubishi Lancer
    propelled it to the winner in the Compact Car category calling out the
    vehicle's aggressive new styling and high performance. This reflects
    that consumers are ready for a change in the segment from the
    traditional sales leader -- Honda Civic.

--  In the Minivan segment, the redesigned Dodge Grand Caravan swept the
    category due in part to its "Swivel 'n Go" seating system and other new
    convenience features.

--  Despite consistent competition from the Toyota RAV4 year-over-year, the
    Mercury Mariner took honors in the Midsize SUV category, as it was
    lauded by consumers for its interior and exterior styling as well as
    for its performance and quality.

--  The Nissan Titan pushed the Ford F-Series out of the top spot in the
    Large Pickup Truck category.  Nissan has an opportunity to capture more
    consumer interest by offering a diesel engine.

--  The Nissan Rogue, a new contender in the Sport Tourer segment, was
    awarded over the Subaru Forester due to its Xtronic CVT™ transmission.

To determine the winners of the Consumer Voice Awards™, BrandIntel captured and analyzed online consumer-created content from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007. The analysis focused on the automotive brands that generated the most positive discussion and sentiment in online consumer communities. Using its proprietary technology, BrandIntel tracked tens of millions of raw search hits on the Internet and refined those results through technological filters and human analysis to utilize only the highest quality data for this study -- totaling nearly 450,000 consumer mentions.

"The Internet and word of mouth marketing has radically changed the way in which consumers research automobiles and formulate purchasing decisions," said Alan Dean, VP of Research, BrandIntel. "Year-over-year we continue to see how positive online consumer discussion by enthusiasts influences mainstream automotive discussions. For automotive companies, consumer-generated content can have a positive effect on their brand awareness. This year's 2008 BrandIntel Consumer Voice Award™ winners illustrate how a vehicle's redesign or other improvements can become a topic of discussion among consumers online, one in which can ultimately broaden market opportunities for both emerging and consistent category leaders."

Using proprietary Internet-monitoring technology combined with a patent-pending content analysis methodology, BrandIntel detects, analyzes and generates intelligence on tens of thousands of relevant comments about automobiles on a daily basis. The company scans the entire scope of the Internet and analyzes the most pertinent content to measure for assigned sentiment scores and share of discussion, rating the physical and emotional value of the results (positive or negative) to produce the relevant categorization records of information in all its reports. The report empowers automotive executives with the most comprehensive and actionable selection of consumer insight within the industry, designed to shed light on an array of daily business challenges.

A copy of the Consumer Voice Awards™ report executive summary is available at www.brandintel.com.

Editors: To schedule interviews with BrandIntel research directors on upcoming topics, please contact Alicia Libucha or Brittany Bevacqua of Lois Paul & Partners at 781-782-5000.

About BrandIntel (www.brandintel.com)

BrandIntel, a Brandimensions Inc. company, translates consumer-created content into reliable intelligence, enabling businesses to advance the science of decision-making. The company offers an information-delivery platform combining human intelligence with award-winning technology for the most trusted market data in the industry. The BrandIntel data helps businesses validate critical business decisions, uncover new opportunities for value creation, and get closer to customers. BrandIntel works with Fortune 1000 companies and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with offices in the United States.

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