SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI: Maruti Suzuki has emerged as the most influential auto brand in India, according to new rankings that also found a significant number of brands improved their scores by double-digits in 2015.

Based on interviews with 8,507 Indian consumers who have owned their vehicles from 30 to 42 months, market research firm J.D. Power gave Maruti Suzuki a brand influence score of 839 out of 1,000 points.

That placed the Indian car manufacturer, a subsidiary of Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation, well above second-placed Hyundai (767), Toyota (744), Honda (733), Mahindra (722) and Tata (720).

Now in its second year, the study measured the brand influence of mass market auto brands in India based on consumer awareness and perception.

Encouragingly for the Indian car market, J.D. Power said all brands with scores below 700 in its 2014 study improved by double-digits in 2015.

These brands included Mumbai-based Mahindra (+44 points), French automaker Renault (+28) and Japan's Nissan (+23).

However, the rankings were less favourable for Datsun (555 points) and Mitsubishi (580), which were judged to be among the brands with the lowest influence.

"Consumers are likely to have a more favourable opinion of a brand that has been in the market for several years versus one that is a recent entrant," said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore.

"For a relatively new entrant, the progression of brand influence depends on how a brand engages and builds relationships with its initial base of customers, thereby creating positive word-of-mouth", he added.

Also of interest for all auto brands, irrespective of whether they are relatively new entrants or not, the survey revealed that the proportion of vehicle owners in India who said they prefer to buy a vehicle made or assembled locally has increased to 80% in 2015 from 74% last year.

In addition, 79% of vehicle owners who took part in the survey said they want to buy a brand that reflects their social status, up from 71% in 2014.

Data sourced from J.D. Power; additional content by Warc staff