Automotive Blog

Automotive brand loyalty winners/losers – 2012 year end

The automotive industry achieved nearly 14.5 million new vehicle sales in 2012, which resulted in a sales improvement of 13.4% versus 2011. There are many contributing factors to this sales achievement. The following all played a part in the industry resurgence:

  • Stabilized inventory levels from the Japanese automakers
  • Several new product introductions from all OEMs
  • Strengthening consumer confidence in the U.S. economy and
  • Lower unemployment rates

Also in 2012, we began to witness OEMs placing greater emphasis on customer loyalty and owner conquest strategies at both brand and dealership levels. OEMs are recognizing that in order to achieve the growth objectives set; they must focus on their existing owners. Adopting best practices in customer satisfaction and understanding the drivers of owner defection are at the forefront of every OEM business strategy.

Let us review 2012 from a brand loyalty perspective and see which brands achieved the greatest improvements versus 2011.

2011 vs. 2012 Brand Loyalty Percentage Point Change

Improvements in brand loyalty were dominated by the import brands. Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura and Nissan all achieved loyalty improvements with the launch of all new products (Altima, Accord, ILX, GS, ES, etc.) in late 2011 through the middle of 2012. Furthermore, the improvements from these brands were also slightly inflated when compared to 2011 due to lack of inventory during that time.

The majority of domestic brands displayed a decrease in owner loyalty when compared to 2011. Chrysler Group is having greater success in conquest of owners from competitive brands rather than in the retention of their existing customers (there is also high migration between inner manufacturer brands, e.g., Chrysler, Dodge). General Motors is seeing heavy losses of its brand owners to Hyundai, Volkswagen and Subaru.

Even though Ford saw its brand loyalty rate decrease by 1 percentage point vs. 2011; it still continues to be the industry leader at 61.3%. Mercedes-Benz leads the industry from the luxury brand standpoint with loyalty of 58.6%.

The final brand loyalty rankings for 2012 are listed below:

2012 Brand Loyalty Performance

Posted by Bashar Cholagh, Loyalty Management Practice, Polk (03.08.2013)


Name: Joel Reyna
Time: Monday, March 11, 2013

Expect to see an improvement from Hyundai this year.. Let them know Joel stated it first..

Name: Jason Lancaster
Time: Monday, March 11, 2013

Would it be possible to request brand loyalty figures for pickup trucks? It seems as if Chrysler-Fiat is lagging behind in terms of owner loyalty, especially when compared to rival pickup manufacturers Ford, GM, Nissan, and Toyota. Since Ram sales are so critical to Chrysler-Fiat's success, it would be enlightening to see how they're doing to prevent erosion...and who is currently stealing their lunch money.


Name: Bashar Cholagh
Time: Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jason; Thank you for your comment. We will take a look at pick-up truck loyalty by brand. Look for this in the coming weeks.

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