Toyota and Chrysler ranked score the best overall marks for their media relations activities, according to the Motor Press Guild’s third annual Automotive Public Relations Survey. The survey, conducted by the Gronstedt Group of Denver, measures the media’s satisfaction on seven criteria identified as being crucial to the success of public relations programs for the 20 major automobile manufacturers. Journalists are asked to rate each manufacturer’s press materials, website, ease and frequency of contact, level of a PR staff’s knowledge, product launch programs and more.

According to the survey respondents, Toyota, which had ranked third in the 2006 study, surpassed Chrysler—which had ranked at the top for two straight years—to take the top spot. Chrysler was second, followed closely by General Motors, Honda and Hyundai in a three-way tie for third. The journalists gave “most improved” marks to Porsche and Honda. General Motors, which had ranked near the bottom in the survey’s first year, continued an upward trajectory, showing a four percent improvement in media satisfaction.

“Our intent is to provide auto manufacturers with usable information from a respected national pool of journalists,” says MPG’s survey manager John Rettie. ““The bottom-line goal is to help auto manufacturers provide the best service possible to journalists, so that, in turn, journalists can give the public the information it needs and wants.

“Disappointingly, three out of four car companies saw the ratings of their online media rooms decline from 2006. And sadly, the perception is that the PR teams among most manufacturers lack the product knowledge required to meet the needs of the media.”