Ford tops GM and Toyota in customer loyalty, study finds
By Jay Keller
Ford made great strides last year with the Ford Fusion by winning Green Car of the year while the Fusion Energi proved very popular with customers, especially since the hybrid was EPA-certified as the most-fuel-efficient sedan at 108 MPG.
The impact of the company-wide changes were so great that customers echoed their support for the Ford Motor Company, putting Ford back on top for customer loyalty for the first time since 2011.
Ford not only passed General Motors and Toyota in corporate loyalty but also dominated in overall brand loyalty with eight models in the top 10, Experian Automotive said on Wednesday in its annual report.
Experian’s trends report of the automotive industry shows that nearly half of the customers who own a Ford Motor Company vehicle returned to market to buy another Ford or Lincoln vehicle.
“Ford has developed extremely loyal customers across a wide range of vehicles,” Jeffrey Anderson, director of consulting and analytics for Experian Automotive, said in a statement. “That consistency across its product line has helped vault Ford’s loyalty rankings past its rivals in our latest study,”
General Motors had the second-highest corporate loyalty ranking, followed by Toyota Motor Corporation.
As for brand loyalty, Experian says Ford beat out Mercedes Benz and Toyota, who ranked second and third respectively.
Luxury brands also accounted for five the top-10 gainers in brand loyalty, with Cadillac showing the highest jump moving nearly five percentage points from 25 to 30 percent over the course of 12 months.
Despite the positive movement for luxury brands, only BMW and Lexus cracked the top 10 in brand loyalty.
Fords also dominated brand loyalty by model with eight cars listed in the top 10 plus the fifth-ranked Kia Forte and the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Sonic.
The Fusion was number one, with 60 percent of owners buying another, and other Ford vehicles were the Flex, Edge, Five Hundred, Fiesta, Escape, Focus and Taurus.
“Customer loyalty will always be a very important barometer of automotive sales success,” said Anderson.
Other key findings in the report showed that the average length of vehicle ownership fell from roughly 68 months in 2011 to 66 months in 2012.
Additionally, hybrid vehicles hit the one-percent market for all vehicles in operation, a first in the history of the report.