Survey reveals crowded list of Arab favorite Japanese car brands

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LONDON: Toyota is Arab’s favorite Japanese car brand, according to the YouGov poll, a result that bodes well for the company’s plans to move from manufacturer to mobility provider in the region.

The poll, which asked MENA residents for their thoughts on a range of issues related to Japan, found that many Arabs associate Japan with car manufacturing, with 56% of respondents citing it as one of the things that ‘they associate with the country the most.

In the GCC, that figure was particularly high, with more respondents associating Japan with car manufacturing than sushi or samurai.

It is possible that when Arabs associate Japan with car manufacturing, they think of one particular brand: Toyota.

After all, when asked to name their favorite Japanese car brand, 35% of those polled chose Toyota, a huge majority over other Japanese manufacturers listed in the poll.

The car brands that were ranked second in the poll, Nissan and Lexus, were each named as favorites by just 14% of those polled, a small number compared to Toyota’s dominance, although Lexus performed remarkably well. in the GCC, with 23% of respondents from that region listing it as their favorite.

Toyota’s strong reputation in the region is also exemplified by YouGov’s 2019 BrandIndex, an authoritative measure of brand perception that tracks brands based on metrics related to brand health, media activity and to the customer experience.


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Toyota topped the 2019 BrandIndex for automakers in Saudi Arabia, ahead of German rivals Mercedes and BMW. Lexus ranked fourth on the index, ahead of South Korean automaker Hyundai, which placed fifth.

A spokesperson for BrandIndex said, “YouGov BrandIndex data in auto manufacturer sectors in Saudi Arabia for the first nine months of 2019 shows that out of 14 of the 16 metrics we track in BrandIndex, Toyota leads the industry among virtually all demographic segments of the market, including the general population.

Such indicators of Toyota’s strength in the Middle East market bode well for its vision of moving from a car maker to a mobility company.

Highlights of Toyota’s transformation strategy were shared with those from the inaugural Dubai World Congress for Autonomous Transportation on October 15.

The company’s decision to look beyond vehicle manufacturing to broader mobility issues is designed to meet the challenges of the future, from congestion in major cities due to overcrowding to the decline of the rural mobility around the world.

Mandali Khalesi, vice president of automated driving at the Toyota Research Institute for Automated Driving Development, told the conference: “The vehicle is not the goal. The goal is access to mobility. Mobility becomes a right that you have to go from A to B, whatever the mode of transport.

Toyota is taking clear steps to move from a carmaker to a major mobility provider, and its partnership with Al-Futtaim and RTA in Dubai is proof of that.

Given the brand’s support among Arab consumers, Toyota is in a strong position in the Middle East to build on its reputation as an automaker as it seeks to expand into other markets.


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