Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

Ford Trounces The Competition When It Comes To Brand Loyalty

Follow Richard

Brand loyalty is a big deal in some industries. When it comes to cell phones and soft drinks, for example, people can come to blows debating the merits of the iPhone and the Galaxy S3, or Coke Zero and...well, whatever the Pepsi equivalent is.

For auto shoppers, though, brand loyalty isn't the driving force it once was. Some consumers, once fiercely loyal to Detroit, have slowly crossed over to Asian or European brands -- and vice versa. 

But that doesn't mean that loyalty is dead and buried. According to Experian Automotive, some automakers do well at keeping shoppers in the fold. Others, not so much.

WHAT COUNTS AS LOYALTY, ANYWAY?

Brand loyalty is when customers continue buying products from a company, year after year, regardless of what critics or the media or friends may have to say about that company. For example, when massive Toyota recalls made headlines a couple of years ago, Toyota's brand loyalty suffered because some longtime fans became disheartened by the news. Those who never stopped buying Toyotas are what we'd call hardcore loyalists.

Today, Experian Automotive completed its review of new-car sales from the third quarter of 2012, and the firm found that Ford did better than any other automaker at keeping customers coming back for more. 

All told, a very impressive 44.1% of customers who bought Fords between July and September 2012 owned another Ford at the time of purchase. (Whether they traded in that vehicle to buy their new Ford, or whether they were simply adding to their household fleet isn't tracked.) Toyota was the only other company to break the 40% mark, coming in at 43.3%. 

Rounding out the top ten brands were Kia (39.9%), Hyundai (38.6%), Honda (38.1%), Chevrolet (38.0%), Subaru (35.7%), Nissan (34.7%), Mercedes-Benz (34.6%), and Lexus (34.1 %). Keep in mind: these sales pre-date the fuel economy fiasco that hit Hyundai and Kia in October and November. It will be interesting to see if their loyalty figures remain high in Q4.

Experian also measured brand loyalty as inspired by specific models. On that count, Ford scored well, too, with a staggering seven vehicles in the top ten list.

In the #1 spot, we find the Ford Fusion: 56.4% of Fusion owners who shopped for a new car in Q3 purchased another Ford (though not necessarily a Fusion). Taking the #2 spot was the Ford Flex (55.3%), and the leader from Q2, the Chevrolet Sonic, came in at #3 (54.3%). 

Also inspiring brand loyalty were the Ford Edge (53.8%), the Kia Forte (52.7%), the Ford Five Hundred (51.0%), the Ford Fiesta (50.7%), the Ford Escape (50.1%), the Ford Focus (49.7%), and the Cadillac DTS (49.1%). Of course, the new Fusion and Escape have seen their share of troubles in recent months, so we wouldn't be surprised if those models slipped off Experian's list when Q4 results come out.

OUR TAKE

To generate brand loyalty, companies have to create a product or an experience that can't be found anywhere else. Whether you know it or not, you keep tabs on dozens upon dozens of these preferences: it's why you buy the same soda and eat at the same restaurants time and time again.

Brand loyalty begins to wear off when consumers become disenchanted  with a product -- either because they've had a lousy experience with it (e.g. Apple Maps) or because the media has made them rethink their devotion (e.g. the massive Firestone recall from earlier in this century).

Automakers have had a tough time maintaining brand loyalty over the past few decades. As the world has shrunk, consumers have become less wary of foreign brands, and an onslaught of recalls has made shoppers understand that every car -- even those from their favorite company -- comes with flaws.

Bottom line: brand loyalty depends on differentiation, but when it comes to cars, the differences between vehicles have become much harder to spot. Ford deserves credit for being able to distinguish its products so well among an increasingly jaded public.

====
Visit our redesigned used cars section today -- over 2 million live classified listings for sale:  Used TrucksUsed SUVsUsed ToyotasUsed Fords and more. 

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (8)
  1. Since the Ford Five Hundred hasn't been made in years, I don't see how that could be accurate.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  2. I agree, it doesn't make sense. I emailed my press contact for clarification -- I'll post an update as soon as I get it.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. I just got this from the folks at Experian: "This loyalty metric is based on what vehicle is owned. So 51 percent of Ford five hundred owners purchased another Ford vehicle when returning to market."

    In other words, Q3 customers weren't loyal to the Five Hundred model, specifically; rather, customers had a positive experience with the Ford Five Hundred, which inspired loyalty to Ford products in general. I've reworded the article for clarity. Thanks for the catch.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. Let's see... All those presently driving a Ford product please raise your hand (doesn't matter how old it is). Gee must be over 10 million in the US alone. So 44% bought a new Ford during the three months of July, August, and September of 2012, so about 1.5 million per month, about 9 times their production rate. Way-to-go-Ford!

    Or maybe the article has expressed it wrong and instead of 44% of Ford owners buying a new Ford, it was 44% of people who bought new Fords were previous Ford owners.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  5. Sorry, I see now that I worded that awkwardly. More precisely: 44.1% of shoppers who bought Fords in Q2 of 2012 owned another Ford at the time they purchased their new vehicle. I'll try to clarify above.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. There is no such thing as Ford loyalty. They could care less how many years and generations of family bought Fords. My F-150 Lariat 4x4, very well maintained and a beautiful truck spontaneously combusted and burned while parked on a very cold nite in Dec 2012. Fords repsonce was - Goto your local Ford dealer and he may assist you in getting another. They totally avoided the issue. You may be loyal to them but they are not loyal to there longtime Ford customers.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  7. Ford just wants your money and once they have it, they forget about you, even after 75 years plus of Family buying Ford cars and pickups. My Ford loyalty is GONE.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  8. I understand your dissatisfaction but it is true that the dealership has the responsibility for customer satisfaction. I had a similar event with Chevrolet (before it was Gov't Motors). However, as the article reveals you appear to be in the minority when it comes to Ford. I also wonder how much of the Ford loyalty is actually driven with the fact that Ford didn't take the government bailout to keep the unions happy while sticking it to the suppliers, stockholders and management as GM and Chrysler did.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Take Us With You!
   
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.