Yonkers, New York – Toyota remains the number-one vehicle in overall brand perception among car owners, according to the Consumer Reports 2010 Car Brand Perception Survey, but Chevrolet, Ford and Subaru have made dramatic increases of at least 30 points over last year.

The scores don’t reflect the actual quality of the vehicles, but how consumers perceive each brand in seven categories: safety, quality, value, performance, design/style, technology/innovation, and environmentally friendly/green.

Toyota kept its number-one spot, but jumps in overall scores helped Ford slip past Honda into second place, and Chevrolet to fourth place from ninth. Subaru’s 39-point increase, the largest of any brand and almost double its 2009 score, boosted it to ninth place from last year’s 18th position.

The top ten scoring brands were Toyota (196), Ford (141), Honda (135), Chevrolet (124), Volvo (92), Mercedes-Benz (92), BMW (90), Cadillac (87), Subaru (81) and Lexus (80).

The two lowest-scoring brands were Hummer and Saab. Luxury brands saw the greatest decreases in overall scores, with Porsche dropping 13 points; Cadillac 15 points; Infiniti 21 points; and Lincoln dropping 25 points.

Safety, quality and value topped the list of factors that car owners considered the most important when buying a car. The only significant change over last year is that people who listed “environmentally friendly/green” as one of their top three priorities was down eight percentage points.

Women deemed safety to be the most important factor, while men rated quality as the top consideration.

For each category, the leaders were:

Safety – Volvo (73 per cent), followed by Ford and Subaru

Quality – Toyota (30 per cent), followed by Honda and Ford

Value – Honda and Toyota (tied at 26 per cent), followed by Ford and Chevrolet

Performance – BMW (29 per cent), followed by Porsche and Toyota

Environmentally friendly/green – Toyota (51 per cent), followed by Honda and Ford

Design/style – Lexus, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz (tied at 23 per cent), followed by Chevrolet and BMW (tied at 19 per cent)

Technology/innovation – Toyota (32 per cent), followed by Mercedes-Benz and Lexus

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