Say what you will about General Motors -- and you've probably said plenty the past two years -- but things may finally be looking up for America's largest automaker. A new survey from research firm YouGov indicates that there's light at the end of GM's tunnel, at least as far as the company's public image is concerned.
YouGov has a pool of 1.5 million survey participants, and each weekday, it asks 5,000 of them questions about the brands that litter their lives. The company then converts those responses into numeric scores that range from -100 (very poor image) to 100 (spotless reputation). A score of 0 translates as neutral. The scores measure "overall brand health incorporating sub-scores of quality, satisfaction, value, impression, reputation and willingness to recommend."
GM has had its share of ups and downs since it ventured to Washington in the fall of 2008 for the first leg of its bankruptcy/bailout grand tour. But take a look at the chart above, and you'll notice a sharp jump in GM's brand perception between November 17 and November 26, 2010 -- the time of GM's IPO. The automaker began that period with a YouGov score of 3.9 -- below that of the domestic automaking sector in general -- but by November 26, GM's score had surged to 10.3.
More importantly, that score came from YouGov survey participants who were planning to buy a car within the next six months. In other words, the improvement in GM's brand perception could have some very immediate benefits.
Of course, the graph also shows the beginning of a decline in GM's brand perception after November 26, slipping to around 9. That leads us to wonder if GM's positive buzz might just've been the result of having its name in the headlines for a couple of weeks. But either way, there's no arguing that the company's image is significantly spiffier now than it's been in recent months.