Car stars

Times have been tough for global auto makers -- and, for many, fortunes have shifted dramatically in the past year.

The king is dead. Long live the king.

Volkswagen motored its way to the top of this year's list of the most admired automobile manufacturers, nosing out longtime winner BMW. Voters apparently took note of VW's new-found interest in the U.S. market, highlighted by the opening of an assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN, and the emergence of VW's Audi brand as a bonafide contender in the super-premium market.

With Daimler's Mercedes-Benz holding on to its third place ranking in the survey, German manufacturers scored a trifecta -- and added more grease to the slide of Japanese automakers. Toyota regained its footing by moving up in the ranking from seventh to fourth, but Honda continued its inexplicable decline by plunging to eighth place from fifth. Nissan, the third member of the Japanese Big Three, remained anchored to the bottom of the list.

Among American manufacturers, Ford strengthened its claim on global competitiveness by moving up one notch to fifth. And General Motors continued to shake off the lingering effects of its 2009 bankruptcy by climbing two spots to seventh. Notably absent from this year's list is Chrysler, whose sparkling sales performance in 2011 is likely to make it a strong contender in 2012.

By Alex Taylor III @FortuneMagazine - Last updated March 01 2012: 10:19 AM ET
Join the Conversation
Top 50 winners

Which companies have the best reputations? Apple tops the list for the fifth year in a row. Who else made the top 50 this year?

Most Popular

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.