Volkswagen logoVolkswagen has suffered the biggest fall in reputation of any major consumer brand in the UK, following the emissions scandal that exposed ‘defeat device’ cheat software in diesel VW’s engine electronics.

In contrast, BMW Group has one of the best reputations in the UK, sitting third overall, behind Lego and IKEA – and ahead of firms such as Sony, Rolls-Royce Aerospace, Aston Martin, Samsung, Bosh and Kellogg’s.

The RepTrak study surveyed 50,000 Brits, ranking them out of 100. BMW Group is among the firms that scored more than 80% and were deemed “excellent”.

Jaguar Land Rover was also given an “excellent” rating thanks to an 80.4% brand reputation score.

Volkswagen, in contrast, had a miserable year. Whereas BMW was sitting third overall VW was way down in 267th place for brand reputation, following a staggering 27.4 points fall over the previous year.

This easily dwarfs other big fallers such as SABMiller (-7.9 points), Nestle (-7.7 points), Admiral (-7.3 points) and EDF Energy (-7.1 points).

Companies were assessed in seven areas: product and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance.

It’s easy to see where Volkswagen, currently facing the threat of significant U.S litigation and fines, stumbled.

Brits bash Brits

More generally, RepTrak co-founder Kasper Ulf Nielsen did warn UK firms that they are “losing out on reputation in their home market”. Just two of the top 10 firms are UK-based – one of them, Aston Martin, an automotive firm and the other, Rolls-Royce Aerospace, being equally engineering-led.

27 firms scored “poor”: all but two were UK or Ireland-based.

“This shows a lack of both emotional and rational connection that is unique to the UK.

“Across the world, home countries tend to have a stronger reputation , and this lack of reputation capital puts UK plc at a disadvantage in its home market.”

If you’re in the market for a new car, the message is clear. Let’s go buy British cars!