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While automakers in the luxury segment are often thought of as enjoying among the most loyal customers in the business, the top names in this regard are all mainstream makes, according to a just-released report based on second-quarter 2011 sales compiled by Experian Automotive in Schaumburg, Ill.
Data shows that Kia currently boasts the most loyal owner body, with nearly 48 percent of buyers returning to the brand this year. Ford is second highest with 46.5 percent repeat business. Chevrolet, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda all registered around 40 percent brand loyalty, with Subaru bringing back buyers at the rate of around 36 percent.
Among luxury automakers, the highest-ranking brands were Mercedes-Benz with 34.8 percent repeat buyers, BMW at 31.7 percent, Porsche at 23 percent and Jaguar at 16 percent.
Kia’s parent company Hyundai Motor Group posted a corporate loyalty rate of 49.6 percent, according to Experian’s data, just edging out Ford Motor Co. at 48.1 percent and General Motors at 47.6 percent.
“According to our latest market report, Hyundai Motor Group has been making strides in customer loyalty for several years,” says Jeffrey Anderson, director of consulting and analytics for Experian Automotive. “In North America, both Kia and Hyundai have made improvements in vehicle styling and quality among both brands. This has clearly helped them gain and maintain a strong and loyal customer base.”
Three Kia models ranked among the top 10 vehicles having the most brand loyalty in Experian’s report, including the list-leading Kia Forte compact sedan at 68 percent, along with the Soul compact wagon and the two-door compact Forte Koup.
Seven out of 10 of the models in Experian’s list were comprised of mainstream domestic-brand models, topped by the Chevrolet Cruze in second place with 64 percent brand loyalty. The remainder were Ford models, including the subcompact Fiesta, the midsize Fusion sedan, the seven-passenger Flex crossover SUV, the Taurus full-size sedan and the compact Focus.
Experian’s study also concluded that among automotive segments, full-size truck owners were the most likely to purchase another big pickup, registering 58.6 repeat business during the second quarter of 2011. Owners of hybrid cars trade in for other hybrids at the rate of 43 percent, as do those buying premium crossover SUVs. The least brand-loyal were found to sports car owners, with just 21 percent buying another equally racy model, and those driving mid-range SUVs – a segment that been steadily losing traction to car-based crossovers in recent years – at 21 percent.
See the full list: Top 10 Most Brand-Loyal Cars