Brand loyalty declining among new-car buyers

Brand loyalty declining among new-car buyers

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for carmakers to turn a customer into a repeat customer, according to a recent study. An unexpected side effect of the chip shortage is that drivers who kept their car for longer than they’re used to are going to the competition to try something new.

“As vehicle availability increased and more choices hit the market, loyalty among brands as a whole saw a decline [in 2023]. Additionally, owners were tied down to their vehicles for longer than normal due to ongoing supply chain disruptions, and as a result were more likely to experience problems with their vehicles. Now that some of those issues have eased, consumers are looking to get behind the wheel of something different and are no longer remaining as loyal to a brand,” said Tyson Jominy, J.D. Power’s vice president of data and analytics.

J.D. Power analyzed trade-in data from September 2022 to September 2023 to compile a list of the brands that new-car buyers are most loyal to. Porsche took first place in the premium car segment for the second consecutive year with a loyalty rate of 56.8%; Mercedes-Benz finished second with 50.5%. In the premium SUV segment, Volvo and BMW took first and second with 56.5% and 56.1%, respectively.

Moving down to the mainstream car segment, Toyota took first place with 60% while Honda finished in second place with 55%. In the mainstream SUV segment, Subaru enjoys the highest loyalty rate (61.1%) while Toyota isn’t far behind (60.5%). Unsurprisingly, Ford takes first place in the truck segment with a 64.6% loyalty rate; that’s the highest score in the study. Toyota finished second with 60.4%.

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Comparing 2023’s numbers to 2022’s sheds light on several interesting patterns. Ford and Toyota ruled the truck segment in 2022 as well, but they posted figures of 63.8% and 58.7%, respectively — they managed to buck the trend. Subaru and Toyota swapped places in the mainstream SUV segment and both lost buyers (they finished 2022 with 62.6% and 63.6%, respectively), while Kia took second place in 2022’s mainstream car segment with 54.1%. BMW’s loyalty rate in the mainstream SUV segment dropped by 2.5%, which explains why it took second place in 2023, and even the allure of owning a Porsche has faded slightly: its loyalty rate checked in at 57.4% in 2022.

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