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Hyundai Hits #1 In Customer Loyalty, Toyota Slips To #3

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2010 Hyundai Tucson

2010 Hyundai Tucson

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2011 Hyundai Sonata

2011 Hyundai Sonata

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2010 Hyundai Genesis

2010 Hyundai Genesis

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Looking to buy a Hyundai? You're not alone. Over the past year, the Korean automaker has become a darling of the press, and according to one new study, Hyundai owners are now the most brand-loyal kids on the block. That, in turn, has helped keep Hyundai resale values high, which has made owners even happier, which has boosted customer loyalty, and so on. In economic terms, that's called a virtuous circle.

In the last quarter of 2009, roughly 45.9% of current Hyundai owners shopping for new wheels were considering another Hyundai. That's a fairly respectable figure, but it has surged even higher during the past two months: as of February of 2010, Hyundai brand loyalty jumped 10.4 percentage points to rest at 56.3%. Toyota, on the other hand, slid 4.4 points, settling at a still-respectable 53.3%, while Honda saw a very modest .07% gain, bringing it to 55.8%. That puts Hyundai at the top of the brand-loyalty heap, former star-pupil Toyota in the #3 position, and Honda in its familiar Jan Brady spot.

This is probably to be expected, given the troubles Toyota has seen in recent months. It's also in keeping with KBB data from last month which suggested that non-Toyota owners were growing more loyal to their current brand of automobile, and that Korean automakers like Hyundai and Kia were benefiting the most from the Toyota recall. (We're still a bit unsure as to why Honda hasn't fared better during the recall fiasco, although we know that Honda hasn't been as aggressive as Hyundai on the marketing front.)

Hyundai has also been buoyed by strong interest in models like the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, the 2010 Hyundai Tuscon, and the 2010 Hyundai Genesis. Analyst James Bell says that if Hyundai plays its cards properly, it should be able to ride this wave of popularity for a while, but that the company does face competition in the U.S. from homegrown brands: "Hyundai's main challenge in the near future will likely come from domestic automakers like Ford and GM as they gear up for battle over buyers starting to look for a change from 'Camry-land.'"

Going hand-in-hand with this news of brand loyalty comes word that Hyundai values have jumped a full 2% from last month. While that may seem like a small number, the rest of the market averaged gains of .3%. Looks like 2010 may be Hyundai's to lose.

For additional details, check out the full press release below.

* * * * *

Kbb.com: Hyundai Owner Loyalty Speeds Past Honda, Replaces Toyota to Take No. 1 Spot

Hyundai Values Outperform Segment; Sonata Recently Breaks into Top 10 Most-Researched New Vehicles List

IRVINE, Calif., March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com Market Intelligence data, brand loyalty for Hyundai recently surpassed that of Honda and Toyota, leading Hyundai's brand loyalty to the No. 1 spot among car shoppers on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. In addition, Hyundai values have been outperforming the car segment average, and the all-new Sonata recently emerged on the kbb.com Top 10 Most-Researched New Vehicles list.

When comparing February 2010 data to Q4 2009, Korean import automaker Hyundai has seen the greatest recent increase in loyalty, with Hyundai owners looking at new models within the brand increasing by 10.4 percentage points to 56.3 percent. This surge leads Hyundai to the top spot in brand loyalty on kbb.com for the first time in recent history, up from third place in Q4 2009.


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