According to the 2018 Edmunds Trade-In Loyalty Report, which studied more than 13.9 million vehicle transactions from 2007 to 2017, customers are most loyal to Japanese brands such as Toyota, Subaru and Honda. Rounding out the top five spots were Ram and Chevrolet which both had a loyalty rating of 54%.
At the opposite end of the mainstream spectrum were brands such as Chrysler, Smart and Dodge. All three had less return customers than Fiat and Mitsubishi.
Over the past decade, there have been some major winners and losers. Subaru and Mazda saw significant jumps in customer retention while the latter brand’s CX-5 crossover had the highest number of return customers of any vehicle in 2017.
The loser’s bracket saw customers flee from Chrysler and Dodge vehicles. Both brands saw their loyalty rating nearly cut in half over the past decade and Buick didn’t do much better as its rating dropped from 35% in 2007 to 29% in 2017.
In the luxury segment, buyers are most loyal to Lexus, Audi and Land Rover. They were closely followed by Mercedes, Porsche and BMW. The least loyal luxury customers belong to Infiniti, Jaguar and Volvo.
The love affair with crossovers was also evident as Edmunds notes passenger car loyalty hit its lowest point in eight years. Cars only accounted for 36 percent of all new vehicles sold last year and it helps to explain why the Honda Accord isn’t flying off dealer lots. Another interesting finding was the fact that crossovers and SUVs dethroned trucks in customer loyalty for the first time ever.
To help build and maintain a loyal following, Edmunds says automakers need to “leverage emotional design, offer a wide array of SUVs and have a solid history of reliability.”