Report: Porsche, Cadillac lead automotive brand loyalty improvements in Q1

Recent analysis of repeat buying behavior from Polk during the first quarter of 2013 finds average new vehicle brand loyalty rates increasing to 51.5 percent, up more than two percentage points over the same time period last year.

Thirteen brands experienced a larger jump in owner loyalty than the industry average compared to the first quarter 2012, with Porsche, Cadillac and Mazda representing the three largest quarter-to-quarter improvements, according to Polk. 

Among brands with at least 1,000 former new vehicle buyers returning to the U.S. market in the first quarter, Porsche owner loyalty improved 9.5 percentage points.  Cadillac continued its owner loyalty improvement over 2012 with an uptick of 8.3 percentage points over the same period last year, while Mazda was third most improved for the quarter, as the brand improved its owner loyalty 7.8 percentage points during the first quarter of 2013. 

"In each case, strong-selling models fuel the loyalty to these brands.  We saw a majority of the contribution for brand loyalty coming from Cayenne owners for Porsche, CTS owners for Cadillac and Mazda3 owners for Mazda," noted Lonnie Miller, vice president of Polk's Loyalty Management practice. "There's something to be said for paying positive attention to the majority of your customer base while treating buyers professionally and continuing to meet or exceed their vehicle needs."

Ford Continues its Overall Brand Loyalty Leadership

Overall, Ford continues to lead the industry, with a brand loyalty rate of 65.1 percent among new vehicle owners who returned to market during the first quarter 2013, proving that its impressive lineup is making a significant impact among automotive shoppers who are returning to market.  Toyota brand loyalty was more than 6 percentage points behind Ford for the timeframe, with a 58.5 percent loyalty rate.  Honda (57 percent), Chevrolet (56.2 percent), and Mercedes and Nissan (each at 55.9 percent) round out the top six brands for the quarter's loyalty analysis.

On a monthly cycle, Polk's loyalty analysis is based on actual new vehicle registration information gleaned from all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.  The fact-based analysis helps OEMs, dealers, marketers and ad agencies improve owner retention strategies, business planning and conquesting activities in the automotive marketplace.  Buyer behavior is not based on surveys or other self-reported data.

It serves as a unique metric for OEMs, as they seek to understand their market position and identify new vehicle sales opportunities. 

"Automakers take customer loyalty seriously.  Polk continues to work with them on both measurement and improvement plans in order to help dealer and corporate personnel understand what share of their total sales should come from repeat buyers versus newly acquired customers," said Miller.

The first quarter 2013 analysis evaluated brands against their performance during the first quarter in 2012.  Loyalty rates among top ten brands with at least 1,000 new vehicle-owning customers returning to the showroom during the quarter ranged from 52.2 percent to 65.1 percent. 

About Polk's Loyalty Management Practice

Polk's Loyalty Management Practice enables manufacturers and retailers to effectively set benchmarks and manage owner loyalty through an in-depth analysis of automotive shopping behaviors and related market influencers. Analyses cover the entire U.S. market, and can help automakers and dealers identify likely defectors before they leave, providing an opportunity to re-win a customer's business. Polk's Loyalty Management Practice provides services via in-person consultation, reporting and access to loyalty data through web-based query systems.