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Automotive Customer Loyalty - Who's Winning and How?

It's not always about who has the largest market share or the broadest product line. Sometimes repeat sales for OEMs and dealers are fruitful when you're a small player, too. Yesterday, Polk issued a press release of customer loyalty on automakers who beat the industry average by looking at first quarter results. 

What did we find?

  • Thirteen brands exceeded the average industry increase for make loyalty when we compared buyer behavior from Q1 2012 and Q1 2013. The first three months of the calendar year are tough loyalty months since many OEMs have year-end clearance sales, which pull sales ahead so they can make room for the new model years.
  • Porsche, Cadillac and Mazda had the largest increases in make loyalty when you take a look at repeat buying over these two periods. These arguable niche brands showed tremendous gains versus other brands in the U.S. auto industry. Cayenne, CTS and Mazda3 owners "gave back" generously according to our research.
  • Ford still holds the largest rate of getting customers to return to a brand — nearly two-thirds of their customers stay with the Ford make. Yeah, aggressive and fresh product DOES count!

See the complete press release, "Porsche, Cadillac Lead Automotive Brand Loyalty Improvements in First Quarter, According to Polk."

Link to Market Study: Leveraging Measurable Behaviors to Enhance Dealer LoyaltyAdditionally, if you ever wondered about what happens at the dealer level, Polk just put out a new market study on select dynamics of customer loyalty at a dealer level. You'll find some pretty interesting patterns in "Leveraging Measurable Behaviors to Enhance Dealer Loyalty." The study reveals the following and more:

  • Customers who live further away from their dealer are less likely to return to buy again (it's what you'd expect, but by what degree?)
  • Brands with a larger number of dealers help the overall make loyalty figures, but it hurts dealer-level performance (what's the gap between a brand's national and dealer loyalty?)
  • There are some helpful action items that OEMs can implement if they measure customer loyalty at a dealer level.

Repeat sales are only one path for an OEM to hit their topline sales targets. Acquisitions are the other route. With the U.S. market expected to grow this year, it's still a pretty mature market. So one brand's loss is another brand's gain.

We'll keep monitoring. Stay tuned.

Posted by Lonnie Miller, Vice President, Loyalty Management Practice, Polk (06.06.2013)

Comments for Automotive Customer Loyalty - Who's Winning and How?

Friday, June 7, 2013 by John lewer
I see this from a completely different angle and is the fundamental problem with Sales of GM Product-at least in Australia but could be a worldwide problem. Ask anyone on the street "who is GM"? The answer will be the local Car Dealer staffed by people who coulnd't give two hoots about GM as if its not a GM product you want they are just as happy to sell you whatever other brand they may also be selling! How can these Dealers represent GM and their employees from the designers, engineers, purchasing snd of course the actual vehicle builders with the passion and emergency of what is at stake with a Sale and how it is sold with Service immediate and ongoing? If GM can't own the dealers surely they could be staffed with GM people! Maybe rotated GM people from all the employees of GM? I know for a fact ISUZU does this in Japan. When talking Loyalty ask youself as a non GM employee Loyalty to whom? A salesman of a dealer or to the manufacturer? GM product can be the extremely competitive but a poor experience will turn a customer away fast on an environment we have today where all manufacturers local and impoted also have great product! Its just not all about "loyalty" which unfortunately died within the manufactures in their own cost cutting changing the culture of a job for life forever.

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