In 1977 Autotest organized a survey in which 2.727 participants cooperated. The questions were divided into several categories. The degree of brand loyalty and the pros and cons of the car were discussed. Of course, the survey also included questions about matters that a subsequent car had to meet. The participants were also allowed to name their favorite brand and type as preferred brands. BMW and Alfa Romeo played an important role. They were the preferred brands.
For most brands, brand loyalty fluctuated between values of 40% and 60%. That could be deduced from the combination question in which was asked what the previous car of the participant was, and where it was now driving. Striking: BMW and Mercedes-Benz achieved a percentage of around 60%, while a mutual crossing was hardly an issue. In that respect, not much has changed in nearly 40 years. Volvo, Renault and Peugeot drivers also remained loyal to their brand in more than 50% of cases. It was striking that Audi scored low. Only 28% of the participants decided to get into an Audi again. These relationships are different today.
Fixed popularity of top 3 compared to 1976
The preferred cars in 1977 gave a beautiful and sometimes surprising picture of the automotive wish list of almost forty years ago. Luxurious sportiness prevailed. The BMW 3-Series of the Baureihe E21, which was more than two years young at the time, was the list leader with verve. The Alfa Romeo Alfetta and the Peugeot 504 GL took second and third place. Remarkable, since the Alfetta was already launched in 1972 and the rock-solid basis of the 504 celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 1978 (publication year survey). The numbers one, two and three were the same cars as a year earlier.
Two more Alfa Romeos in top 10
There were two more in the top ten Alfa Romeos. The Alfasud ti (nine) and de Giulia (ten) completed the occupation of the first ten places. Certainly the more than fifteen-year-old Giulia showed what iconic status the car possessed. Worth noting: the relatively new Honda Accord and the Volkswagen Golf GTI also scored highly. Golf brother Scirocco fell out of that Top-10, a fact that probably had to do with the ever-expanding Golf series. The fact that Opel has been working on the road for a few years with the Manta-B (place five) will also have played a role. The Manta made its entry into the top 10 favorites list of the 2.700 participants.
Preferred brands top five: mainly German
Finally, the top five preferred brands. BMW and Alfa Romeo were first and second with 13,8% and 13,7% respectively. In the case of BMW, this was surprising, given that only the 25-Series of the Bavarian brand was represented in the top 3. The 5-series did not appear in the piece, just like all Mercedes-Benz models. The fact is that Mercedes-Benz models are very popular among classic car owners and buyers today. Incidentally, brands such as Leyland Jaguar en Leyland Rover did not even appear in the list of preferred brands. Opel, Volkswagen and Ford did play a major role. They completed the top 5 of the preferred brands. That can be explained by the fact that in those years in the Netherlands they were among the best (Opel) selling or better selling brands (Volkswagen and Ford). But they could not beat pure desire in the preferred list.