Toyota has been battling image problems after it had to recall tens of millions of vehicles from 2009 to 2011 for a host of issues.
But some high-profile marketing has revved up the car company's brand. Toyota sponsored the NCAA March Madness tournament, which earned it a branding boost with college basketball fans.
It has also eclipsed many of its competitors in the hybrid vehicle movement, selling more of the eco-friendly cars in the U.S. than any other manufacturer. The result: Toyota is the second-biggest brand improver on the list. Buzz score: 21.5, up from 9.9 last year. (+11.6)
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