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Auto industry’s reputation on mend

The auto industry's reputation has improved sharply, according to a new Harris Poll.
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The auto industry's reputation has improved sharply, according to a new Harris Poll.

After having hit bottom two years ago during the bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler, the reputation of the auto industry has rebounded.

A new Harris Poll judging public attitude towards 22 large industries indicated what was described as a “huge improvement” in the number of people who think the automobile industry is doing a good job of serving consumers.

At the same time, there was a very large increase in those giving the airline industry bad marks, according to the poll, which was based on interviews with nearly 2,000 Americans last month.

One key measure, the difference between those who think the auto industry is doing a good and a bad job of serving their consumers, shows a 36-point improvement, from plus 6 to plus 42 for the car industry. By comparison, there was a 27-point decline, from plus 34 to plus 7 for airlines.

Other sizable changes since 2009 include an 11-point improvement in public attitudes to online search engines, from plus 63 to plus 74, and a 10-point improvement in attitudes to the still unpopular health insurance industry, from minus 19 to minus 9.

The industries with the best images among the public are supermarkets, plus 80, online search engines, plus 74, hospitals, plus 66, computer hardware companies, plus 61 and computer software companies, plus 55.

The least popular industries are oil companies, minus 31, tobacco companies, at minus 21, managed-health companies, minus 13, health insurance companies, at minus 9, and investment and brokerage firms, plus 3.

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