Auto & Mobility

Most Trusted Brands Report 2021: Automotive & Mobility

September 2021

Report summary

For more recent data and analysis, see the Most Trusted Brands Report 2022: Automotive and Mobility.

For many consumers, buying a car is among the largest big-ticket purchases they will ever make. That means trust is crucial for car brands, especially as more transportation options appear in the industry. As an expansion of Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands landscape report, this report explores which transportation brands have garnered the most trust among consumers, along with which brands have the most return customers, how competing brands can replicate that same trust with the U.S. public and how the pandemic has impacted consumers’ buying habits.

Key Takeaways

  • Consumer trust in transportation brands — car brands, car rental brands and ride hailing services — slightly dropped since 2018, but its slow decline can’t solely be attributed to the pandemic.
  • American and Japanese auto brands have earned the most consumer trust in 2021, with General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet and Toyota Motor Co. in the top two spots. Notably, only one luxury brand (Mercedes Benz) appears in the top ten most trusted brands.
  • Ford is the most-owned brand among the U.S. public: 62% of respondents said they have at one point owned the brand. Ford is also the “stickiest” brand, with the highest share of people saying they’ve owned several cars from the brand.
  • The pandemic at first stalled car buying, and then hugely accelerated it: 40% of U.S. adults who have owned or leased a vehicle said they bought a car in the past year. That figure increases among younger consumers.
  • Consumers now feel safer in ride-hailing apps: Fewer than half of the public in 2018 said they feel safe using a ride-hailing app, compared to 83% today.
  • About three-quarters (74%) of respondents would stop buying from a car brand if it didn’t honor its warranty. That’s a relatively high share of consumers, compared to other industry-specific reports on trust, who would abandon a brand if trust was broken.


This report contains data from Morning Consult Brand Intelligence as well as Morning Consult Research Intelligence.

To determine this year’s rankings, Morning Consult analyzed at least 5,000 survey interviews with adults 18+ per brand from the company’s flagship brand tracking platform, Morning Consult Brand Intelligence. The rankings are based off data from the United States only and were determined based on Net Trust.

To assess the consumer trust landscape, Morning Consult Research Intelligence conducted survey research with more 4,400 U.S. consumers. The survey was conducted in August 2021, with a margin of error of +/-two percentage points.

About the author

A headshot photograph of Joanna Piacenza
Joanna Piacenza
Head of Industry Analysis

Joanna Piacenza leads Industry Analysis at Morning Consult. Prior to joining Morning Consult, she was an editor at the Public Religion Research Institute, conducting research at the intersection of religion, culture and public policy. Joanna graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications and holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].