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What Vehicles Have The Most Loyal Customers?

Posted in auto industry, Car Buying, Featured, General, Lists by Kurt Ernst | January 17th, 2011 | 1 Response |
2010 Mercedes Benz E-Class

No vehicle has higher owner loyalty than the E-Class. Image: MBUSA

When it comes to overall brand loyalty to a specific manufacturer or make, Ford takes tops honors according to a recent R.L. Polk survey. Since Polk isn’t the first company to report that data, it really comes as no surprise; what is surprising is the actual vehicles that customers remain loyal to. Polk identified ten categories of vehicles, then named the specific make and model with the highest owner loyalty. Curious to know what they are? Read on to find out.

Compact Car: Mini Cooper

2010 Mini Cooper
There are two kinds of Mini owners that I’m aware of: those that never have a single problem with their cars and those that have ongoing, unresolved problems with their cars. Even customers with problem Minis seem to accept it as the price of admission, and in some cases, part of the car’s quirky charm. In any case, the Mini Cooper repeats as the class leader from 2009, and rack up owner loyalty of 28.2%.

Mid/Full Size Car: Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius
I’m not sure I buy into the Toyota Prius being a mid-size car, and it certainly isn’t a full-size one. Despite this, the Prius repeats as the category winner, with an owner loyalty of 38.9%, showing that Prius buyers are rabidly loyal. It will be interesting to see if the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf impact this category next year.

Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz E Class

2010 Mercedes E-Class
No surprise here; when it comes to luxury and prestige, few cars match the presence of Mercedes Benz. In much of the world, Mercedes E-Class sedans are used for much more pedestrian purposes, such as police cars and taxi cabs. On this side of the pond, however, few cars say “I’ve made it” quite as well as the E-Class, which enjoys owner loyalty of 45.6%

Sports Car: Dodge Challenger

2010 Dodge Challenger
Sorry, the Dodge Challenger isn’t a sports car, it’s a muscle car. When it comes to going fast in a straight line, the Challenger does it quite well. On a tight road course, however, the Challenger simply can’t hide its bulk; there’s a reason why sumo wrestlers don’t go on to dance ballet. Despite the glaring error in categorization , the Challenger claims owner loyalty of 20.2%.

Luxury Sports Car: Jaguar XK

2010 Jaguar XK
Jaguar beat out some stiff competition (the BMW M3 and M5, for example) to win this category, which goes to show that Tata made a wise investment in purchasing the storied brand from Coventry. The XK is a new category winner for 2010, and claims owner loyalty of 22.2%.

Minivan: Chrysler Town & Country

2010 Chrysler Town & Country
The manufacturer that started the whole minivan craze in the early 1980s continues to have the most loyal customers. That’s not a surprise, since Chrysler has probably put more R&D effort into their minivan lineup than any other segment over the years. As good as the competition may be, it seems like they’re perpetually playing catch-up to the pentastar minivans. The Town & Country repeats as the category winner in 2010, tallying 32.6% owner loyalty.

Mid/Full Size Pickup: Ford F-Series

Ford F-150

Image: Ford Motor Company


Truck buyers are rabidly loyal to their chosen brand, and hardcore Ford guys would sooner chew their own arm off than take a ride in a Chevy pickup. Ditto for bowtie fans, who’d rather walk with two broken legs than jump in a blue oval truck. No pickup truck line has more followers than Ford’s F-Series, which repeats as category winner with a 42.3% loyalty percentage.

Compact SUV: Subaru Forester

2009 Subaru Forester
The Subaru Forester repeats as the category winner for 201, beating out both the Honda CRV and the Toyota RAV-4. The Subaru cute-ute has earned a reputation for durability and functionality that other brands envy; just look at how many Subarus are on the road in states like Vermont and New Hampshire, where long, snowy winters are a part of life. The Forester enjoys owner loyalty of 31.9%.

Mid/Full Size SUV: Lexus RX

2010 Lexus RX350
There’s no doubt about it: the Lexus RX series are nice vehicles that will get you through seriously bad weather on paved or graded dirt roads. I’m partial to the Infinity FX series myself, which throws in just a bit more sport with its luxury, but I completely understand the appeal of the Lexus RX. The Lexus repeats as category champ, racking up a solid 41.1% owner loyalty last year.

Luxury SUV: Land Rover Range Rover

2010 Range Rover Sport
Like the Mercedes E-Class, no luxury SUV says “I’m in a different tax bracket than you” quite like the Range Rover. Sure, they’re known for electrical gremlins and frequent mechanical problems, but they’re also supremely capable off-road when functioning properly. Besides, if you’ve got the coin for a Range Rover, you probably have staff to take care of things like trips to the Range Rover dealer for service. The Range Rover repeats as category champ for 2010, with owner loyalty of 35.4%.

Source: R.L. Polk

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  1. Leigh says:

    Subaru killed-off many would-be repeat customers with the ’08+ Forester by eliminating the manual transmission option for the turbocharged XT. Many current Forester owners are former WRX/STi/Legacy GT owners who, for various reasons, needed a larger car and wanted something easily tunable, turbo-charged and MT, with performance similar to their prior cars. I know quite a few who are content with their 2nd gen Foresters, that have all of the above-named features, and would rather drive their Foresters into the grave than buy a “dumbed-down” third gen Forester. I guess Subaru is trying to appeal to a tamer crowd lately, but it is alienating many of its core fan base.