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Our survey reveals that the strike against America’s Big Three automakers is already harming their reputation.

Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis have all suffered significant drops in reputational metrics since the United Auto Workers union strike began on 15 September.

We surveyed people in the United States the week of 18 September and compared it to data collected the previous week.

Our survey found that Ford and General Motors both saw a statistically-significant 4-point drop in their Trust & Like Score (from 75 to 71), while Stellantis recorded an 8-point decline (from 74 to 66). All scores are measured on a 0-100 scale.

Pumping the brakes

Our survey also found that people are less likely to want to work for the three companies or to recommend or consider their products.

Stellantis suffered the biggest drop in its Recommendation score: 36% of people said they’d recommend its products compared to 52% the week before.

Stellantis results: week of September 18th in USA

By contrast, 42% said they would recommend GM’s products, compared to 51% the week before, and 39% said they would recommend Ford’s products, compared to 48% the week before.

GM results: week of September 18th in USA

Ford saw a big drop in its Consideration score, which reflects people’s willingness to buy a company’s products. Just 38% of people said they’d consider buying Ford products versus 52% the week before.

Similarly, 41% said they’d consider buying Stellantis products versus 52% the week before. GM saw a 3-percentage-point drop.

Ford results: week of September 18th in USA

Stellantis suffered a 13-percentage-point decline in its Employment score, which reflects the extent to which people consider them as a potential employer.

Just 39% of people said they would consider the company if they were looking for a job, compared to 52% the previous week. GM and Ford both saw a 9-percentage point drop.

Hazard warnings

All three companies – but Stellantis in particular – also suffered significant declines in measurements of their standard brand and reputation attributes.

For example, Stellantis saw a 14-point decline in its Leadership score, which reflects how much people see the company as demonstrating leadership. Ford and GM saw 4- and 8-point drops, respectively.

Stellantis also saw a 12-point drop in its Integrity score, which reflects how much people see it as behaving responsibly. Ford and GM saw 5- and 6-point drops, respectively.

And Stellantis suffered a 12-point drop in its Relevance score, which reflects how much people relate to what it stands for. Ford and GM saw 3- and 4-point drops, respectively.

The three companies saw steep declines in their Advocacy rates, too. This metric reflects people’s willingness to say something positive about them to others. GM’s score fell 8 percentage-points and Ford’s 9 – while Stellantis suffered a 19-percentage-point drop in its score.

“Stellantis seems more vulnerable to negative coverage, most likely due to its low familiarity and perception as a foreign rather than a local company,” concludes Caliber CEO Shahar Silbershatz. “This is hurting them at the moment, as their reputation has taken a deeper hit than Ford and GM. Stakeholder tracking can help guide actions to remedy this over time.”

Hard impact

Finally, our survey showed how aware Americans are of the UAW’s industrial action – the largest autoworker strike in US history.

While 38% of respondents have heard of the strike and support it, 15% have heard of it and don’t support it, and 30% have heard of it but don’t know anything else about it.

Strike awareness: week of September 18th in USA

In other words, four in five Americans are already aware of the strike – and for America’s Big Three automakers, the reputational impact is certainly being felt.

As Shahar told The Intercept: “It’s clear the strike is not just causing commercial repercussions, but reputational repercussions as well.”

Get the full survey results

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