SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Analysis of first quarter new-vehicle registrations showed that loyalty and conquesting efforts by OEMs are paying off in improved retail market share, according to a report from IHS Automotive.

Brands with the greatest improvements in loyalty generally experienced market share gains during the quarter. Jeep’s market share rose 1.3 percentage points, as it achieved loyalty improvements of 8.1 percentage points during the timeframe. Similarly, Nissan and Subaru gained in loyalty, and improved their respective market share by more than half a percentage point. These three brands enjoyed the largest market share gains in the industry during the quarter. 

Overall automotive industry loyalty during the first quarter was 51%, down slightly from the first quarter 2013. Brand loyalty leaders through March were Ford, with an industry-high 64% loyalty, followed by Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, each with 57.8% loyalty.  

This assessment by IHS Automotive includes analysis of more than 1.8 million new-vehicle transactions in which a household returned to market during the first quarter to purchase another new vehicle. The analysis is limited to brands with more than 1,000 transactions during the timeframe.

“Both owner loyalty and competitive conquest efforts impacted market share in varying degrees during first quarter 2014,” said Jeffrey Anderson, director of loyalty at IHS Automotive.  

While overall loyalty for the quarter dropped slightly from 2013, an analysis of the year- over-year first quarter trend in overall industry loyalty showed improvement.  

“This is indicative of manufacturers and dealers focusing on loyalty and conquesting — including incorporating loyalty into compensation programs at the retail and corporate levels,” said Tom Libby, manager of loyalty solutions and industry analysis at IHS Automotive.

In addition, IHS found that brands with increased conquests relative to defections have also seen an increase in market share. Five brands that led the industry in net conquest/defection improvement were Mitsubishi, Jaguar, Lincoln, Jeep and Lexus. All had gains of 40% or more. Conquests for these makes were largely driven by the new Mitsubishi Outlander, Jeep Cherokee (replacement for the Liberty), Jaguar XF, Lincoln MKZ and the Lexus GX.

These brands also experienced market share improvements, with Jeep achieving a 43% improvement, Mitsubishi being up 40%, Lincoln showing a 27% gain, Lexus showing 16% improvement, and Jaguar realizing a 15% increase.