New car owners are not as brand loyal as they used to be, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study. However, some brands such as Porsche and Ford, consistently rank the highest in brand loyalty.
With the pandemic and related supply chain constraints, new vehicle inventory collapsed. Dealer lots were empty and if you did find a vehicle in stock, the dealership was likely to tack on thousands of dollars to the MSRP. As a result, many folks decided to just hang on to their old cars until things got better. Now new-vehicle inventory levels are climbing again, and people are tired of their old car and want to jump into something new. Unfortunately for the auto manufacturers, that something new is likely to be a vehicle from another brand.
“As vehicle availability increased and more choices hit the market for consumers, loyalty among brands as a whole saw a decline this year," said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data & analytics at J.D. Power. "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.”
The loyalty rate is based on the percentage of vehicle owners who choose the same brand when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle. The 2023 study was based on data collected from September 2022 through August 2023. All model years traded in are counted in the study.
It may be true that overall brand loyalty is declining but some brands consistently retain loyal customers. For the second year in a row, Porsche was the top-ranked premium car brand with a 56.8 percent loyalty rate, down from 57.4 in 2022. So, if you own a Porsche Cayman today, the chances are good that you are going to replace it with another Cayman. Or maybe a 911. But you are not likely to replace it with a Corvette.
Among mass-market car brands, Toyota took the top spot for the second consecutive year. They enjoy a 60-percent loyalty rate, a drop from 2022's 62.2 percent. Honda ranks second in the category with a 55 percent loyalty rate. Volvo was the winner this year in the premium brand SUV segment with a 56.5 percent loyalty rate. In the mass market SUV segment, Subaru ranks highest with a 61.1 percent loyalty rate, down from 62.6 percent in 2022.
Truck owners are the most loyal of all. Ford took home the crown for the second consecutive year with a stellar 64.6 percent loyalty rate, up from 63.8 percent. That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for 46 years in a row. But what may be a bit surprising is it was not Chevy or Ram in the second spot. Second place went to Toyota with a 60.4 percent loyalty rate, which actually also jumped up from 2022's 58.7 percent.
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