Polk: Ford Is Number One In 2010 Owner Loyalty, Kia Most Improved

January 12, 2011
2011 Ford F-150 Limited

2011 Ford F-150 Limited

Ford has won yet another accolade: This past year, its buyers are more loyal than those of any other automaker.

Overall, 61.8 percent of Ford owners in the market for a new vehicle traded their vehicle for another vehicle from Ford Motor Company. The Ford brand itself was nearly as high, at 60.1 percent.

This is the first time Ford has won the award for overall manufacturer loyalty since 1999.

The Automotive Loyalty Awards—now in their fifteenth year—are based on an analysis of 4.9 million "return to market events" during the 2010 model year—running October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010—and gauge a manufacturer's ability to retain owners in repeat buying cycles. Loyalty, as Polk measures it, is when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and then buys or leases another new vehicle of the same make or model.

Among Asian and Hispanic owners, Toyota retained its top standing in loyalty, while among African-American owners Ford also ranked at the top.

"It's clear that the OEMs are paying attention to the importance of owner loyalty in this economy," said Stephen Polk, chairman, president, and CEO of Polk, in a news release. "We've seen many programs put into place to help them keep customers coming back – and it's paying off for them."

Polk pointed to another curious trend: throughout the sales slump, overall loyalty rates across the industry have increased. It appears that in a time of tight resources, shoppers are going with what's tried and true.

Kia most improved for loyalty in 2010

Kia was the most improved in loyalty, up nearly six percentage points from 2009, while repeat winners included the Mini Cooper, Toyota Prius, Chrysler Town & Country, Ford F-Series, Subaru Forester, Lexus RX, and Land Rover Range Rover.

Polk also notes the continued ascension of Asian brands, as opposed to domestic and European brands, in market share: Asian brands no hold about 54 percent of the market, as opposed to 37 percent for domestics and about nine percent for Europeans. The changes in loyalty signaled that trend: From 2005 to 2010, loyalty to Asian brands rose more than six percent, but loyalty to the 'Big 3' fell by nearly three percent.

See below for Polk's individual award winners and their calculated Loyalty Percentage:

Overall Awards


Loyalty Percentage

Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer

Ford Motor Company


Overall Loyalty to Make



Ethnic Market Make – African American



Ethnic Market Make – Asian

Toyota (repeat winner)


Ethnic Market Make – Hispanic



Most Improved Loyalty to Make


+5.9 percentage points

Vehicle Category Awards


Loyalty Percentage

Compact Car

MINI Cooper (repeat winner)


Mid/Full-size Car

Toyota Prius (repeat winner)


Luxury Car

Mercedes-Benz E-Class


Sports Car

Dodge Challenger


Luxury Sports Car

Jaguar XK



Chrysler Town & Country (repeat winner)


Mid/Full-size Pickup

Ford F-Series (repeat winner)


Compact SUV

Subaru Forester (repeat winner)


Mid/Full-size SUV

Lexus RX (repeat winner)


Luxury SUV

Land Rover Range Rover (repeat winner)


[R.L. Polk]

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