TROY, Mich.— Vehicle owners remain vastly loyal to their specific brands, in part due to the effects of pandemic lockdowns, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study,SM released today. With many vehicle shoppers hesitant to venture out to showrooms, they often relied on their relationship with their current dealer.
“The time period for this study traversed nationwide lockdowns, a recovery from the worst of the pandemic and the effect chip shortages had on vehicle inventory,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data & analytics at J.D. Power. “During the height of the lockdown, shoppers who were unable—or unwilling—to visit showrooms in-person weren’t shopping around as much but could still call a dealer and have a vehicle delivered to their homes.
“The bottom line is finding a vehicle required working closely with a dealer and, when presented with obstacles, shoppers turned to the dealer they already knew. As a result, the level of increased loyalty this year is remarkable.”
Using data from the Power Information Network, the study, now in its third year, calculates whether an owner purchased the same brand after trading in an existing vehicle on a new vehicle. Customer loyalty is based on the percentage of vehicle owners who choose the same brand when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle.
The study finds, in general, brand loyalty improved across the board and is also stronger for the highest-ranked brands compared with 2020.
Lexus ranks highest among premium brands for a third consecutive year with a 51.6% loyalty rate. Porsche (50.2%) ranks second, followed by Mercedes-Benz (47.0%), BMW (45.6%) and Audi (45.5%).
Subaru ranks highest among mass market brands and highest overall in the automotive industry for a third consecutive year with a loyalty rate of 61.8%. Toyota ranks second (61.1%), followed by Honda (59.3%), RAM (56.8%) and Ford (53.9%).
The most improved brand year over year in the premium segment is Acura (+7.1 percentage points), while Mazda (+5.9 percentage points) has the highest improvement in the mass market segment.
The 2021 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study calculations are based on transaction data from June 2020 through May 2021 and include all model years traded in.
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