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In today’s highly globalized, extremely dynamic and incredibly rapid-moving world, there is an
abundance of diversity of products in virtually all market segments, and the automobile industry
marks an overload of manufacturers and models exploiting every possible market niche in order
to accommodate effectively all the possible needs of potential customers. Regardless of what
country a person lives in, almost everyone has access to a huge amount of choice when it comes
to manufacturer availability, so it therefore becomes apparent that such a heavy market saturation
is likely to result in a large amount of complication when it comes to manufacturer and model
differentiation. Nonetheless, three brands always enjoy the largest amount of interest and
desirability, and stand out above the others – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

This study hypothesizes that the key strength behind the success of Audi, BMW and
Mercedes-Benz lies in their brand images, and that the value of those images is the most
influential factor in swaying the customer’s buying behavior in favor of the three marques.

Consumer behavior is the theoretical and practical attempt to identify and categorize all of the
different factors that a potential customer takes under consideration, and how he reacts to them
on the way to forming the decision to purchase a given product, or in other words, the buying
behavior Generally, there are two main categories that different influences could be divided into
- tangible and intangible. The former are usually directly concerned with the traits and
characteristics with the product a customer is thinking or purchasing such as the benefits and
attributes it offers, the buying price and supplementary expenses, the functionality it offers and to
what extent its various features accommodate the specific needs of the buyer The latter category
pertains more to the prejudices, biases, social pressure, personal opinions and perceptions (where
the product’s brand image plays a crucial role) and the emotional responses and connections
(feelings) the potential buyer has towards the product in question. While these factors often
provide the fundament of consumer behavior, the study of its specifics are highly unscientific
and unpredictable due to the non-tangible aspect that forms a significant portion of buyer’s
behavior. Therefore, while the analysis and understanding of consumer behavior is extremely
important to many companies​.

The traits that recur most often in regard to Audi are reliability, quality and tranquility. The
majority of consumers view BMW as a company that stands for performance, quality and
excitement, where Mercedes-Benz is mostly categorized as a brand of comfort, luxury and
quality. These results are indications that all three of the companies are well aware of their
customers' perception due to the almost direct correlation between the identified brand images by
the respondents, and the projected brand identities. Clearly the existing images of the brands are
highly influenced by the different core values that each of the companies have constantly
demonstrated throughout the years. An interesting observation can be made that a large part of
the consumers have identified “quality” as being one of the key traits of all three of brands,
which in itself serves to demonstrate the strength of the established brand images.

The vehicles and by extension the brand of the manufacturer do affect society’s perception of a
certain person. There are a large number of stereotypes that prevail in defining what exactly the
ownership of a given vehicle says about the driver, but regardless of the actual projection, the
existence of an influence remains unaltered . This statement can further be reinforced by the
commonly identified statement that the way a person’s community perceives him has been
affected by the ownership of a certain vehicle. An interesting observation regarding brand
images has been exhibited by an overwhelming indication that the individual perception of a car
manufacturer in the eyes of certain person has been strongly affected by society’s perception and
opinion of the same company . This supports the theoretical supposition regarding the inherent
subjectivity of brand image, and the large number of exterior influences that may affect its

Perhaps the two most important conclusions are the very categorical and clearly visible
indications of the importance of brand image prior to the purchase of a new vehicle . Almost
every consumer believe that the brand image of car is a factor of exceptional importance to be
taken under consideration before purchasing a vehicle. While there is a slight variation in terms
of the intensity of this importance, the almost 100 percent valuation of brand image significance
is undisputable. Therefore the brand value that the products of different manufacturers carry
could theoretically be the factor which exhibits the final and most influential factor in forming
the buying decision.Many have further testified to the validity of the previous statement by
firmly claiming that while considering their options prior to the purchase of a given vehicle, they
would not decide to buy a car that fulfills all of their requirements and accommodates all of their
needs if the brand image of the manufacturer is not one that they like and are attracted by This is
arguably one of the most important pieces of information obtained from the study as it provides
the clearest collected verification that brand image could “make or break” the decision to
purchase, hence serving as supporting evidence of the aforementioned declaration that the
influence of brand image could be considered as the factor that carries the largest weight and
importance during the formation of the buying decision in the mind of the potential client.

The final significant logical assumption that can be made as a result of the obtained results is the
outcome to a direct inquiry regarding the main reasons why they have chosen to purchase a
vehicle manufactured by Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, rather than another company,
especially considering the huge availability, highly competitive prices and generally similar
running and maintenance terms and costs offered by other premium segment manufacturers.
Taking under consideration the observed responses it becomes immediately clear that there is no
single reason, but rather the combination of different tangible and non-tangible such as class,
style and luxuriousness, as well as a number of physical vehicle characteristics. After
juxtaposing these results with the initial definitions of the theoretical concepts expressed in this
dissertation, we can understand that in fact the brand image of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz
is what has persuaded the consumers into purchasing vehicles manufactured by these three
companies. Taking into account all of the above , we could deduce that while all three companies
are prospering and performing admirably, BMW and Mercedes-Benz appear to have a higher
preference percentage in the eyes of the respondents and within the demographic scope of the
study have a “stronger” brand image than Audi.