When it comes to car buying, consumers tend to fall in one of two camps: the first buys whatever product has the best pricing, the best performance or the best fuel economy, while the second camp buys products from the same manufacturer time and time again. Automakers love brand-loyal customers, since it ensures them repeat business.
For years, it seemed like Honda and Toyota had a lock on customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Both companies ran ads showing families who owned nothing but their cars, and both manufacturers earned a well-deserved reputation for quality. When you’re number one, however, there’s always a target on your back, and both Honda and Toyota seem to be learning this the hard way.
Which company has them in their crosshairs? Below are the top five automakers with brand-loyal customers, according to Kelley Blue Book’ most recent data.
In the second quarter of this year, Hyundai’s brand loyalty was at 52.3 percent, thanks in part to value leaders like the new Hyundai Sonata and Elantra. As Japanese automakers are finding out, Hyundai is serious about dominating the U.S. market.
Honda’s brand loyalty remains strong at 49.7 percent, but not strong enough to earn them the number one spot. The automaker seems to have lost their way in terms of both design and product, which has opened the door for Hyundai to grab the number one spot.
Toyota slipped to number 3 in the second quarter of 2011, with brand loyalty at 47.7 percent. The upcoming Camry redesign will help, as will increasing inventories of their ever-popular Prius hybrid
Ford’s customer loyalty is at 45.4 percent, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see this increase over the coming months. The automaker is making a great effort to train customers on their MyFord Touch / SYNC telematics system, and the company seems to be cranking out an endless stream of new and interesting products.
The perennial favorite of Vermont and New Hampshire, Subaru has brand loyalty of 44.8 percent. The automaker knows their customer base well, and significant changes to their product line aren’t likely. It it isn’t broken, why fix it?
I’ve owned vehicles from 8 or 9 manufacturers over the years, so I wouldn’t exactly call myself brand loyal. How about you? Do you stick to a single brand, warts and all, or do you buy the best car for the money?
Source: Kelley Blue Book