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Loyalty is important to automakers, and those that managed to increase their brand loyalty saw gains in market share last year.
If you think a little recall can keep a company like Toyota down, you’d be wrong. Even with the slew of recalls in 2009, the setbacks have had “little to no impact” on how consumers see Toyota.
At least that’s what a study released by North Carolina State University found. Researchers first looked at the used car market to see how factors that had nothing to do with the recall, like promotions, marketing campaigns and new models could impact sales. Then, they studied the average prices for specific used models to determine how much Toyota owners were willing sell their vehicle for and how much used-car buyers would be willing to pay for them.
The results found that even though Toyota received a lot of press surrounding the recalls, it really didn’t have an effect on what consumers were willing to pay for a Toyota vehicle. In fact, the average price of vehicles that were affected by the recall only declined by about two percent when compared to unaffected vehicles.
This study highlights the importance of a well-established reputation. When the university did a similar study of Audi vehicles recalled in 1986 due to similar acceleration issues, researchers found an average price slide greater than 16 percent over a six month period.
Besides revealing what consumers think about specific vehicle brands based on seven different categories, Consumer Reports‘ latest Brand survey also shows what nameplates they will consider for their next new vehicle.
Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet were recognized as the leaders when it came to purchase intentions for consumers, however, Honda, in fourth place was ranked considerably higher than the rest of the brands on the list. Honda’s strong customer loyalty helped then to achieve their high ranking and like the top three, the customer loyalty factor was registered at more than 50 percent.
Other findings in terms of brand loyalty revealed that Dodge, which had showed gains in recent years, dropped slightly for 2012 to 28 percent from 35, placing it a distant fifth behind Honda.
As for the reason why, the lack of a quality small car at a time when buyers are looking to save their pennies and placing more emphasis on fuel economy and value may be a significant factor. It’ll be interesting to see how the brand fares next time out, once the Dodge Dart has been introduced.
Volkswagen, which is making a huge push to become a dominant player in the volume segment in the US, has seen its purchase intent double in the last few years. Even with the growth VW has achieved, the purchase intent numbers are still low, rated at just under two percent, meaning that for many consumers VW simply isn’t on the radar when it comes to considering a new vehicle.
Another interesting finding from the survey was of those leading Domestic brands that contained trucks in their portfolio. Men were more likely to consider theses brands than women and for example, Ford showed a 19 versus 11 percent bias towards males, with Chevrolet at 15/11. However, Toyota, which also offers trucks, was actually skewered the other way with 16 percent of women (versus 12 percent of men) most likely to consider a new vehicle.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
The all important metric of “conquest sales”, vehicles which steal owners away from another brand, has a new king, the Hyundai Sonata. The Korean automaker’s mid-size sedan has been a smash hit, and evidently done its part to steal consumers aware from other manufacturers.
A report by automotive analytics firm Polk suggests that for every 100 customers Hyundai loses when they abandon the Sonata for another competing product, they gain 365 customers who end up purchasing a Sonata. Furthermore, Hyundai has a retention rate of above 50 percent, proving that the company’s success isn’t just a flash in the pan.
When it comes to automotive loyalty, Ford proves they must be doing something right, as the company just won the 15th annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards.
The last time that Ford won this award was back in 1999, so they’ve had plenty of time to work on the customer loyalty aspect of the business. And it’s paid off – Ford came away on top in the many categories, including: Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer; Overall Loyalty to Make; Ethnic Market Make – African-American; and Mid/Full-Size Pickup for its F-Series truck line up.
The Polk’s Automotive Loyalty Awards are given to automakers that retain car owners over repeat buying cycles. To track owner loyalty, Polk follows trends throughout the year and completes in-depth analysis of automotive shopping behaviors, related market influencers and development of retention strategies. Polk also determines automotive loyalty when a new vehicle consumer purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same model or make.
According to Brad Smith, director of Polk’s loyalty management practice, the 2010 awards are based on an analysis of 4.9 million return-to-market events during the 2010 model year. The 2010 model year runs from October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010.
You can see the full list of winners after the jump.
Car buyers are pretty loyal – they tend to stick with the same brand when it comes time to buying a new car. But if they were to switch sides, a new Consumer Reports survey says that higher quality, better fuel economy, and a lower price are the big three factors influencing their decision.
This telephone survey was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, and they interviewed more than 1,700 adults whose household owns at least one vehicle.
The results showed that brand attachment varies by age and gender. Women are more likely to stick to a brand – 54 percent of women would purchase a new car that is the same make as they currently own. And brand loyalty seems to be prevalent in older drivers as well. According to drivers over 35 years old, over 50 percent plan to stay with the brand they already own. Younger drivers are more fickle – only 41 percent of drivers aged 18 to 34 years old would buy the same brand again.
It also seems that money can’t buy you love or loyalty. Results from this survey show that household income does not play a role in car brand loyalty. When compared to drivers who pulled in a modest salary, affluent consumers were nearly equal in their attachment to a brand.
What does come from this research is it proves that car buyers are, not surprisingly, attracted to the highest quality and most value for the money. Basically, our purchasing influences are those that can save money up front, at the pump, and in the long run. For more car buying motivators, see the graph after the jump.
According to a new survey by Consumer Reports, Honda has surpassed Toyota to become the number one brand for customer loyalty in the U.S. According to the new report performed in April, 68 percent of current Honda owners said they would “most likely” buy another Honda – up one percentage point. Toyota slipped to third place dropping 13 percentage points from 70 percent to just 57 percent. This allowed Ford to sneak into the second place spot, gaining three points for a total of 61 percent.
As for the other giants of the U.S. auto market, General Motors dropped to 49 percent (down from 57 percent), while Dodge posted continued losses in customer loyalty from 32 percent down to just 24 percent.
Toyota’s loss suggests the automaker may have to extend the significant incentives it has been offering in order to sustain sales.
Consumer Reports says the results of the survey are based off of 1,704 U.S. vehicle owners and compared to the last such survey in December of last year.
[Source: Automotive News]