SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – An analysis of 2010 year-end automotive loyalty rates finds Ford Motor Company ended the year with a 63.1 percent owner loyalty rate, the highest among vehicle manufacturers, according to Polk. 

Ford improved its loyalty rate 3.9 percentage points over 2009 and overtook General Motors’ 2009 leading position. GM and Toyota rounded out the top three manufacturers for 2010, with 59.9 percent and 58.8 percent loyalty respectively. Results reflect choices among 5.2 million new vehicle buying households during the 2010 calendar year, a 13 percent increase over 2009, based on Polk’s analysis.

Loyalty is determined when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same model or make. Polk tracks owner loyalty monthly and works with automakers and their retailers to effectively manage owner loyalty through the in-depth analysis of automotive shopping behaviors, related market influencers and development of retention strategies.

Overall Brand Loyalty Improves; Ford Brand Leads

The Ford brand increased its owner loyalty rate by 4.5 percentage points and led all brands with an owner loyalty rate of 60.3 percent. Industry-wide brand loyalty in 2010 was up 2.1 percentage points from 2009. This is the highest brand loyalty rate since Polk first began calculating industry brand loyalty in 1996. The top five brands and their loyalty rates for 2010 are as follows:


Loyalty Rate

Change from 2009


60.3 percent

+4.5 percentage points


56.7 percent

+2.1 percentage points


56.6 percent

+1.1 percentage points


56.4 percent

-0.4 percentage point


53 percent

+1.4 percentage points

“Loyalty measurements are an important aspect of any customer retention strategy, but the real value is derived from the various consumer marketing and field training strategies created from the measurements,” said Brad Smith, director of Polk’s loyalty management practice. “Manufacturers have been placing greater emphasis on owner loyalty over the last several years and these efforts can be seen with the increases during 2010.”

Luxury Brands Show Dramatic Improvement in Loyalty

      Among all vehicle segments, luxury brands achieved the highest increases in owner loyalty year over year. Land Rover had an 8.2 percentage point increase to lead the segment in 2010, while Acura increased loyalty rates by 7.5 percentage points and Cadillac was up 7.1 percentage points over 2009 loyalty rates. These gains can be primarily attributed to double digit gains in lease loyalty for all three brands.

Model Loyalty Rates on the Rise

      Model loyalty rates improved in 2010 as well, up 2.3 percentage points compared to 2009. Overall, Mercedes-Benz E-Class led model loyalty for 2010, with Ford F-Series and Lincoln MKZ following close behind.


Loyalty Rate

Improvement from 2009

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

44.2 percent

7.3 percentage points

Ford F-Series

42.4 percent

5.6 percentage points

Lincoln MKZ

41.6 percent

16.2 percentage points