Here’s something I came across on Leftlane News that I thought was pretty remarkable. My perspective might be a little skewed, given that I write about the automotive and portable electronics industries on a daily basis, but this level of ignorance seems astounding.
58.4 percent of U.S. college students surveyed by Anderson Analytics believe Land Rover is an American brand. Only 18.5 percent of respondents correctly identified the marque as British.
About a third of those surveyed thought Lexus was an American company. Roughly the same number knew the luxury automaker was in fact Japanese. One can only wonder what small percentage of Americans actually realize Lexus is a Toyota-owned Japanese company.
Swedish automakers were also a source of much confusion. 49 percent of respondents said Volvo was German, and 40 percent thought Saab was, too. Roughly 15 percent of those queried correctly identified the two companies as originating from Sweden.
55.7 percent of students thought South Korean automaker Hyundai was Japanese. A nearly identical number of respondents also thought Korean electronics maker Samsung was also Japanese. Most students thought LG — also from Korea — was American.
Other non-automotive companies in the study include Nokia, which only 4.4 percent of respondents could identify as Finnish, and Lego, which most students think is American.
The survey sampled 1,000 U.S. College students at 375 universities during the fall-winter 2006 semester.
I guess with everyone owning everyone else (Ford having a big piece of Mazda and Volvo, for example), the concept of being a Japanese brand or an American brand is a little blurred. For example, Lexus vehicles, while owned by Toyota, were not offered in Japan under the Lexus moniker until recently. The same can be said about the Honda-owned Acura namesake (to be launched in Japan next year).
Oh, and for the record, Lego is based out of Denmark.