A new J.D. Power survey of Chinese consumers reveals that European brands are on the rise in popularity in the world's largest auto market.

According to the survey's results, about 32 percent of prospective car buyers would consider a European brand. That's up from a 2009 quotient of only 25 percent.

European brands are now preferred over Japanese ones and domestic marques. 27 percent of respondents said they would consider a Japanese vehicle (a drop from 32 percent in 2009), and 20 percent said a Chinese brand is an option.

The survey revealed that European models get good grades for quality and reliability and state-of-the-art engine and transmission technology. Respondents also said that European brands get strong word-of-mouth endorsements.

Japanese marques have dropped in brand-value in the eyes of Chinese consumers, who now give them lower grades for quality and say the cars don't get recommended from friends and family.

The survey conspicuously left out American brands from the overall conclusions but U.S. marques still fare well in China. GM sold more than 2 million cars in China last year and three GM vehicles topped the list in their respective categories - the Chevy Sail, Chevy Cruze and Buick GL8. 

Chinese buyers rated the Audi A4L (extended wheelbase) the most preferred choice in the premium segment, while the VW Tiguan was the most desired SUV in China.

Gallery: Car buyers in China prefer European brands over domestic and Japanese marques - report

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