The most innovative auto brands – according to British drivers
April 28th, 2021, Christien Pheby

The most innovative auto brands – according to British drivers

Data from YouGov Profiles reveals the car makers that Brits think are blazing the way forward

By 2030, the British government is planning to phase out new sales of vehicles powered by fossil fuels – with a view to creating a fully-electric automotive market. Innovation, then, isn’t just about dazzling consumers with the latest in-car tech or comforting them with new safety features; it’s an existential issue.

But which brands are in top position?

Data from YouGov Profiles shows that three in ten drivers (28%) say that Tesla is a leader in innovation and technology. While the brand was initially associated with the luxury end of the market, recent years have seen it launch the lower-cost Model 3. In recent weeks, Tesla’s innovation has been high-profile for more unfortunate reasons, thanks to reported issues with its (partially self-driving) Autopilot system.

Tesla is alone at the top with considerable lead – and as an American brand in a table that is otherwise entirely comprised of German and Japanese brands.

Toyota, which saw early success in the electric vehicle space with its Prius hybrid car, takes joint-second along with BMW. Both brands were cited by a fifth of British drivers (19%). Audi, whose “Vorsprung durch Technik” slogan (“advancement through technology”) has become a cornerstone of its corporate branding and its international advertising, took third place with 16%. The brand recently announced an all-electric concept sportsback car – the A6 E-Tron – at Auto Shanghai 2021.

Honda, which has recently announced plans to go all-electric by 2040, came in fourth with 13% of British drivers recognising it as a leader in technology and innovation, with Mercedez-Benz hot on its heels in fifth (12%). Volkswagen and Hyundai (11%) placed joint-sixth, while Nissan (9%) placed seventh. In another victory for Toyota, its Lexus luxury car brand brought up the rear – with 8% of drivers considering it a leader in the space.


YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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