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Branded in Memory: Auto Edition

AT Staff

AT Staff

 / Feb 28 2023
Branded in Memory: Auto Edition

How Well Can Americans Remember Car Logos?

Key Takeaways

  • BMW's logo was the one most accurately remembered; Kia's was the least.
  • 66% of people didn't realize that Kia changed their logo.
  • Respondents rated BMW, Audi, and Tesla as having the top 3 car brand logos.
  • On average, 61% of Americans preferred AI-redesigned car logos to the originals.

Automakers spend billions of dollars on advertising every year, hoping to make their branding memorable. So at American Trucks, we were curious: How well can people recall what car logos look like?

To find out, we asked 90 respondents to draw over a dozen popular car and truck logos from memory and then scored them on accuracy. We also surveyed over 500 Americans to see which logos they thought were the best and if AI could create better designs than the originals.

Logo Recall

Could you accurately recreate a car or truck logo if asked to draw it? That's exactly what we asked survey participants to do, and then we graded each drawing on a scale of 1-10 to determine how well they could recall these icons from memory.

Even though survey respondents were the least confident about their ability to recreate the BMW logo from memory, this German brand's iconic circular logo scored the highest for accuracy. Respondents received a 5.7 out of 10 for the BMW drawings, while Subaru ranked second at 5.3. Nissan, Ford, and Audi rounded out the top five, with scores of 4.7, 4.6, and 4.1, respectively.

Despite being crowned the new king of the luxury auto market, Americans couldn't remember Tesla's logo very well, scoring an average of 3.4 out of 10. Recognition for Mercedes-Benz was even lower at 2.5, and Kia had the lowest score: 1.9. Their last-place rating is likely due to the Korean automaker's rebranding a few years ago. That's probably also why 66% of respondents drew Kia's older logo.

When asked which brand had the best logo, BMW again topped the list, with 61.1% of respondents preferring it. Audi was the second most-favored with 51.1% of the vote, and Tesla ranked third at 50%. The Toyota and Honda logos completed the top five.

A Tuneup for Some Old Logos

Many car and truck logos are iconic and memorable, but could they be improved? To see if AI could do the automakers one better, we used Midjourney to generate new logos for 13 brands. Let's see how they compared to the originals according to Americans.

AI designed stellar logos for some of the top brands on the road, especially luxury vehicles. Mercedes-Benz fared the best among all the creations, with 69% of respondents preferring the new AI-generated logo to the original. Americans also liked how AI reimagined Audi's famous four-ring insignia, with about 68% voting for it. Tesla's AI rebranding earned a 65% approval rating, rounding out the top three favorites.

Here's how some of the most popular truck logos fared:

  • Chevy 61.8%
  • Toyota 60.4%
  • Ford 60.4%
  • Nissan 58.7%
  • Honda 56.7%

On average, most Americans (61%) preferred new AI-created car and truck logos to the originals on the road today.

In Your Rearview

Even though it's likely that most American drivers regularly see these car brand logos on the road, they seem to be more familiar with some branding than others. Whether luxury or mainstream, many of our respondents were also open to AI-generated designs, even preferring them to the originals. If automakers want more brand familiarity among the masses, they might consider AI-assisted marketing!


Researchers asked 90 respondents to submit hand-drawn recreations of various car logos without assistance and to the best of their memory. These drawings were then scored on how close they were to each brand's current logo. Researchers also surveyed 503 individuals on their opinions of the original car logos for 13 different brands versus the logos for those same brands that were generated using Midjourney AI.

About American Trucks

As a dependable online aftermarket truck retailer, AmericanTrucks provides truck owners and fans with the latest products at unbeatable prices.

Fair Use Statement

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