German equivalent of AAA, ADAC, publishes their second annual AutoMarxX brand study which consists of individual criteria, brand image, market strength, customer satisfaction, product strength, environmental performance and safety. It thus provides an overall picture of current performance levels of the leading car brands.

While in May 2010, BMW was recognized as the leading brand, now the Munich-based automaker falls on the third spot, behind Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Eight times in a row, Mercedes was denied at the top of the podium, but the Stuttgart-based company takes the top spot in the ADAC brand AutoMarxX investigation.

Volkswagen (rank 4) and Volvo (Rank 5) have each improved by one place, while Skoda falls back to sixth. Porsche (Rank 7) swaps places with Toyota. Honda and Seat complete the first ten ranks.

Here are the winners in their respective categories:

Brand image (10 percent): Audi

Market strength (10): Volkswagen

Customer satisfaction (15): Subaru

Product thickness (vehicle quality) (30): Audi

Environmental behavior (15): Skoda

Active and passive safety (20): Mercedes

In terms of security, the investigation shows that BMW fell from 1.0 grade to 1.8. In Germany, the lower number signifies a better ranking. During the same period, Audi also deteriorates in the security area from 1.3 to 1.7. Mercedes is ranked at 1.0 now.

In the environmental behavior section, BMW’s evaluation went down to 2.1 from 1.9, although the new BMWs consume more power with less fuel and emit fewer pollutants. Overall, BMW’s cored went from 1.89 to 1.97, while Mercedes has improved from 2.06 to 1.92. Audi was able to pass BMW with a smaller decline from 1.90 to 1.95.
[Source: ADAC via BimmerToday ]