When it comes to owner loyalty, the Ford Motor Company boasts the highest customer retention rate among car shoppers. When it comes to brand loyalty, the Ford make was also on top. For the third consecutive year, both the Ford Motor Company and the Ford brand are category winners in the 2012 Polk Automotive Loyalty Award competition. Polk bases its findings on actual consumer transactions, reviewing more than 4.5 million American households to make its determinations.
The Polk Loyalty Awards presentation was made at the Automotive News World Congress 2012, held at Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center this week.
Ford also finished first in three other categories including “African American Market Loyalty to Make.” The Ford Mustang beat out competitors for top sports car loyalty and the Ford F-Series was first for mid- to full-size pickup loyalty.
The most improved loyalty to a make was Volkswagen. Honda garnered the top following from the Hispanic (Latino) market and Toyota was the favorite of Asian American shoppers.
“Our program is unique in the industry as it recognizes an OEM’s success in its approach to customer loyalty, which is becoming more important as the dynamics of the consumer base are changing,” said Brad Smith, director of Polk’s Loyalty Management Practice. “OEMs are increasingly measuring store-level results as well, working with their dealers to use the metrics to improve their retail networks. They’re starting to see tremendous value and business results from their loyalty programs.”
Favorite by Category
Among compact cars, the Honda Civic had the most loyal following of all. For mid- to full-size cars, the Subaru Outback was on top. The Lincoln MKZ once again enjoyed the highest owner loyalty among luxury cars while the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class placed first among luxury sports cars.
The Chrysler Town & Country once again enjoyed the best loyalty among minivans and when it comes to compact sport utility vehicles, no model can beat the Honda CR-V. The Lexus RX was once again first among mid-full size SUVs, while the Land Rover Range Rover scored highest in the luxury SUV category.
The R.L. Polk & Co. loyalty award has been held annually since the 1996 model year. The Ford brand took Polk’s initial award, sweeping every category except one. In 1996 just eight awards were presented, with all three Ford Motor Company brands (Ford, Lincoln and Mercury) winning that year.
Polk recognizes owner loyalty as the best metric for demonstrating brand stability. Not only will customers come back in to buy more cars, but each one is a “walking spokes-person” for the brand. Polk assists manufacturers and retailers that want to improve customer loyalty by planning marketing communications, developing targets, through recognizing competitive threats and by training staff among other services.
Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company.