Survey reveals vehicle brands and models that boast most-loyal customers

Brand loyalty.

It’s a pillar of the automotive business.

Obviously, you want to keep the customers you have – and get more if you can. Some models, makes and manufacturers are just better at it than their competitors.

And some are the best of the best.

The latter receive Automotive Loyalty Awards from IHS Markit, a London, England-based, global research company with an automotive practice in product planning, marketing, sales and aftermarket.

013018 IL Survey reveals vehicle brands and models that boast most-loyal customers

And the top manufacturer for model year 2017, announced at the Automotive News World Congress: General Motors – for the third year in a row.

Besides General Motors, brand winners in the 22nd annual awards, are Ford, overall make; Jeep, conquest percentage; Lincoln, dealer loyalty; Buick, most-improved loyalty to make, and Jaguar, most-improved conquest percent. Jeep’s win also was a three-peat, while Ford’s streak goes back seven years.

“Three years as the industry leader in loyalty shows that the customer-focused investments our brands and our dealers are making in new products, new facilities and the ownership experience continue to pay off,” said Alan Batey, president of GM North American and Global Chevrolet. “Industry-leading loyalty and strong conquest sales are leading to the most robust growth we have seen in decades.”

Most-loyal customers

About two-thirds of customers of GM (69.1 percent) and Ford (63.4 percent) remained loyal to their brands when buying or leasing in 2017, according to IHS Markit. Overall, a record 53.6 percent – more than nine million – of new-car customers returned to the market to purchase or lease another vehicle from the same make they already owned, IHS Markit said.

“Lincoln was found to be the brand with the highest loyalty to dealer, with 48.5 percent of all Lincoln owners returning to a Lincoln dealer for another vehicle in the 2017 model year,” IHS Markit said.

Also notable in brand results is Toyota’s strength in ethnic markets, leading that category overall, as well as Hispanic, Asian and African American markets individually.

Segment awards went to 24 mainstream and luxury vehicles with high customer loyalty.

Mainstream winners

Repeat winners for mainstream model segments are the Honda Accord, traditional midsize car; Nissan Maxima, traditional full-size car; Chevrolet Volt, traditional compact; Dodge Challenger, mid-size sports car; Volkswagen GTI, sports car; Jeep Grand Cherokee, midsize SUV; Subaru Outback, midsize CUV; GMC Yukon Denali XL, full-size SUV; Ram 1500, half-ton pickup; Ford F-Series, three-quarter to one-ton pickup, and Jeep Wrangler, compact SUV. The Outback and Yukon Denali XL scored three-peats, while the Jeep Wrangler’s segment dominance goes back at least five years.

The Mini Countryman; Honda Odyssey, midsize van; Honda Ridgeline, midsize pickup and Chevrolet Equinox compact CUV replaced 2016 model-year mainstream segment winners.

Top luxury models

Repeat luxury winners are Lexus ES, traditional midsize car; Mercedes-Benz S-Class, traditional full-size car; Lincoln MKZ, traditional compact car; Porsche 911, luxury sports car, and Lincoln MKX, luxury mid-size CUV. New segment winners are the BMW X1, luxury traditional subcompact; Lexus GX, luxury midsize SUV; Land Rover Range Rover, luxury full-size SUV, and Lincoln MKC, luxury compact CUV.

“Our Automotive Loyalty Awards program continues to demonstrate the focus automakers, brands and their dealer networks place on winning back and conquesting customers … industry leaders that are working to improve their loyalty efforts year over year,” said Joe LaFeir of IHS Markit.

IHS Markit loyalty award winners by model year are available here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

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