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Car names: A survey of buyer opinions - Report to industry


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Lehman, KF 2007 , Car names: A survey of buyer opinions - Report to industry.

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In an exploratory study of naming in the car industry in 2004 it became apparent to me that there was
considerable scope for research into buyer perceptions of brand names. While many in the field agreed
that the brand name was a fundamentally important choice, there seemed to be little research in the area
of product naming. Though there were some notable exceptions, generally what work that was being done
on product naming was more in the way of ‘how to’ manuals.
It seemed that an investigation into product naming, using the Australian car industry as a case study,
would be timely. There were several questions deserving of further research: What is it that car names
symbolise or mean to the potential buyer? What role does the name of a product play in the buyer’s
perception of brand image? And, is the perception of the manufacturer’s brand more significant than that
for the model or type? In short, what do the consumers who actually purchased the product think?
Seeking support from industry then seemed a logical step in a research project with such clear practical
outcomes. With this in mind I approached the Toyota Motor Corporation of Australia. Using a Small
Research Grant from the Faculty of Business at the University of Tasmania I travelled to Sydney to meet
with Toyota executives to negotiate access to their customer database to conduct a survey. Toyota not
only agreed to allow access, with confidentiality provisos, but also offered to contribute to the funding of
the project.
In September 2006 the survey, ‘Car Names: A Survey of Buyer Opinions’, was mailed by Toyota to a list
of approximately 10,000 randomly generated addresses of people that had purchased a new Toyota car.
Subsequent data from the returned surveys have been entered and analysed. The wealth of information
now available has the potential to contribute significantly to the academic literature. Importantly though,
it will also provide valuable insight into how buyers feel about the naming of products, which perhaps can
then be used by industry to better tailor its products to meet buyer needs.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Authors/Creators:Lehman, KF
Publisher: University of Tasmania
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