Efforts by automakers to retain customers are paying off, according to an R.L. Polk & Co. study. The study found that nearly half of last year’s customers bought or leased a vehicle of the same brand they had before. Overall, Polk found that industry brand loyalty increased from 45.8 percent in 2009 to 47.9 percent in 2010, an increase of 4.6 percent.
“Historically we’ve just let loyalty happen and measure it on the back end,” said Brad Smith, director of Polk’s loyalty management practice. “What we’re seeing now is more manufacturers actively managing loyalty and trying to influence it.”
In the study, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors topped as the manufacturer with the strongest customer loyalty in 2010. Ford increased its loyalty to 63.1 percent, up 3.9 percentage points from 2010. GM’s loyalty remained at 59.9 percent.
Toyota Motor Corp. came in at third with 58.8 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from 2009.
“Reality is, Toyota did a fabulous job of addressing those recalls,” Smith said. “They made sure to get the word out about what products were affected and they issued more incentives than they ever had previously to keep customers coming back,” he said. “I think if the recalls were having that big of an effect we would have seen much higher defection in customer loyalty.”
– By: Omar Rana