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Cars with the most brand-loyal buyers

Jim Gorzelany
October 12, 2012


Toyota Motor Corp. enjoys the most-faithful buyers in the auto industry, with some surprising vehicles garnering the largest percentage of repeat business in the second quarter of 2012, according to a just issued report compiled by Experian Automotive in Schaumburg, Ill.

While they remain a relatively small chunk of the new-car buying market, automakers are scrambling to attract a younger set of buyers with new and radically redesigned car lines and are infusing existing products with high-tech connectivity features in large part to help grow future business. “Bringing new buyers into the fold” is how many auto execs we’ve interviewed over the years phrase it, and a fiercely loyal customer can be enormously profitable for an automaker over his or her lifetime.

According to the 2012 Experian Automotive Loyalty and Market Trend analysis, 47.3 percent of all Toyota, Lexus and Scion owners return to purchase another Toyota Motor Corp. vehicle, which is up from 41.6 percent a year ago, and is the first time Toyota garnered the top spot in corporate loyalty since 2009. Truly Toyota has overcome whatever negative-perception issues it’s suffered in recent years in a big way.

“Toyota has done an outstanding job of regaining customer trust and getting repeat customers into showrooms,” says Jeffrey Anderson, director of consulting and analytics for Experian Automotive. “To restore normal operations and regain customer trust in such a short time following the earthquake and tsunami is a truly remarkable comeback.”

Also among the top five automakers in terms of garnering repeat business in Experian’s survey are General Motors (46.2 percent), Ford Motor Co. (46.0 percent), Hyundai Motor Group (45.3 percent) and Honda Motor Company (43.1 percent). It should be noted that no pickup trucks or luxury cars made Experian’s list of most brand-loyal vehicles.

1. Chevrolet Sonic

Even though it’s only been on the market for around a year, this shapely subcompact – the design is inspired by motorcycles – brings 60.3 percent of its owners back to Chevy showrooms, according to second-quarter 2012 sales data compiled by Experian Automotive.

2. Ford Fusion

This stalwart midsize sedan drives 59.9 percent of its buyers back to the Ford brand.

3. Ford Flex

Big, boxy and ideal for large families, this seven-passenger crossover SUV boasts 56.0 percent brand-loyal owners.

4. Ford Edge

This mainstream five-passenger midsize crossover is responsible for 55.1 percent repeat business for the Ford brand.

5. Ford Five Hundred

This large sedan ran from 2005-2007 as a replacement for the Taurus in Ford’s lineup and was itself renamed the Taurus for the 2008 model year; all told it brings back 53.1 brand-loyal buyers.

6. Toyota Prius

The lone Toyota among the top 10 brand-loyal models – 51.8 percent of Prius buyers return to the brand – is also the industry’s top-selling hybrid.

7. Chevrolet Cruze

This comely compact sedan has become a big seller for Chevy and it’s already paying off with satisfied customers to the tune of 51.7 percent repeat business.

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