For the fourth consecutive year the Ford Motor Company has finished on top of the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards as presented by IHS Automotive at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit this week. Polk recognized 33 winner across a variety of categories including eight featured categories and 25 segment-level automotive loyalty categories.
Measuring Automotive Loyalty
Polk measures loyalty by determining when a household returns to the market to buy a new vehicle. When the household purchases or leases a new vehicle of the same model or make, then its loyalty to the company or brand is confirmed. For the 2013 model year, 7.4 million consumers returned to the market, up sharply from 5.9 million in 2012 for a 26 percent increase.
Three manufacturers General Motors, Toyota and Ford accounted for half of the total return-to-market population. And as has been the case since 2010, the Ford Motor Company led everyone. Moreover, the Ford brand itself outperformed its competitors meaning that Ford owners were more likely to return to Ford than Toyota owners were to go back to Toyota and so forth.
While the news was certainly good for Ford, other manufacturers also shined. In 2013, Cadillac demonstrated the most improved loyalty to a make and the Audi brand had the highest conquest percent of registrations. Subaru showed the most improved conquest rate of registrations.
Polk also takes a look at market loyalty by ethnicity. The African American market showed the most loyalty to Ford while both the Hispanic (Latino) and Asian markets demonstrated the most loyalty to Toyota.
Top Segment Performers
In the 25 model segments Toyota, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda shined. Winning the non-luxury traditional compact car award was the Toyota Prius. Toyota also led in the non-luxury traditional full-size car segment with its Avalon, in the non-luxury mid-size truck with its Tacoma, and in the non-luxury full-size SUV segment with its Land Cruiser. Several Lexus models finished on top as well including the RX for luxury midsize CUV, the LS for luxury traditional full-size car, and the CT200H for luxury traditional sub-compact car. With seven segment awards, Toyota was tops among all brands.
The Chrysler Group took five awards with the Fiat 500 nabbing the non-luxury traditional sub-compact car award, the Chrysler Town Country finishing first among non-luxury mid-size vans, and the Dodge Challenger taking the non-luxury sport mid-size car award. In the non-luxury mid-size SUV segment the Jeep Grand Cherokee was the winner there while the Jeep Wrangler won the award for the non-luxury compact SUV segment.
Mercedes-Benz garnered four awards with its C-Class winning the luxury traditional compact car segment, its E-Class the luxury traditional mid-size car segment, and the SL-Class finishing first among luxury sports cars. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class was tops among luxury mid-size SUVs.
Honda took three awards including the non-luxury traditional mid-size car segment with its Accord and the non-luxury compact CUV award for its CR-V. The Acura MDX finished first among luxury compact CUVs.
Six manufacturers rounded out the remaining spots including the Ford F-150 for the non-luxury full-size half-ton pickup segment, the Kia Sorento took the non-luxury mid-size CUV award, and the Hyundai Veloster finished atop the non-luxury sport car segment. For the luxury full-size SUV segment, the Land Rover Range Rover enjoyed the greatest customer loyalty. Among luxury exotic cars, the McLaren MP4 finished first and for the luxury prestige full-size car segment it was the Rolls-Royce Phantom that took top honors.
Overall Brand Loyalty
Customer loyalty is a big deal to manufacturers who strive to retain buyers as they reenter the market. Overall brand loyalty was 51 percent in 2013, up from 50 percent the year before. That also means that 49 percent of buyers bolted for another brand. So, manufacturers that successfully attract and retain buyers will enjoy not only improved sales, but the profits that come with them.