Does 'Best In Class' Really Make You Want To Buy A Car Or Truck?

Illustration for article titled Does 'Best In Class' Really Make You Want To Buy A Car Or Truck?

"Best In Class" has been a favorite phrase for car commercials and billboards forever, particularly in the pickup truck market. Now that Ram and Ford are raging especially hard over who's "Best In Class For Towing," it's time to settle the real debate: does anyone give a damn?


From where I'm standing, "Best In Class" claims are meaningless annoyances to cut through when you're trying to make an educated buying decision. My main grievances:

  • What class are we even talking about? "Classes" within pickup trucks alone are confusing to car-nerds, let alone the average consumer. (Check out our explainer right here if you want to know more).
  • "Best In Class" ratings are often achieved using a very specific trim of a certain model; i.e. the 2015 Ram 3500's 30,000 pound capacity claim; which is only attainable with their rear-drive single-cab dually.
  • How many people are actually running their vehicles to the ragged edge of performance? Whether it's towing capacities, top speed... I never see any of these being tested on public roads. Where people spend most of their time driving.
  • Capacity ratings like towing and payload are made up by the manufacturers. If a competitor releases a better figure, all a company has to do is "re-certify" and boom; better capacity. It happens over and over again.

And yet, company representatives call me every day (no, really. Every day.) to remind me " their vehicle is best-in-class, and that I better stop telling people "best-in-class" is stupid because they've just spent tons of money earning the right to put that on their dealership posters and by the way, the other guy's truck is a steaming heap of duty with only, like, one cupholder."

What the hell do I know. It's time to turn this debate over to The People, do "best in class" claims matter to you? Do they affect your decision to buy a new vehicle? Drop a simple "yes or no" in the poll here and tell us why in the comments.

Image: Andrew P. Collins (graphics from Chrysler, Ford, Stuart Caie/Flickr



The poll is showing exactly what I would expect, yet the subtlety of marketing is lost in this post. if you say the worst "best" in association with a product enough times then you start to associate that product with being better than the competitor. No one in their right might would make the leap that a single reference would be enough to sway their decision, but a constant stream of messaging is usually enough to tip the balance of perception such that you will make an unconscious association with that product or service being of high quality. The reason is that it is, for the most part, true. We know that if a company has the money and stamina to produce a reputation (or a perceived reputation) that the company is doing well and it must be a result of the superiority of their product. Its complex, subtle and long term and usually wrapped up in a term we use all the time "Brand Loyalty"