Customers just don't like switching from what they know.
People don't like change. Even when switching to a new car brand could be beneficial, consumers tend to stick with what they know. This fact has just been proven by the JD Power 2020 US Automotive Brand Loyalty Study. The study, which is now in its second year, uses data to show if a vehicle owner purchased a new vehicle from the same brand after trading in their existing vehicle. The loyalty rating is based on the percentage of customers who chose the same brand when purchasing a new car.
The study is split between luxury and mainstream brands, yielding two winners in each category for brand retention. On the luxury side, Lexus topped the list for the second year in a row with a 48 percent loyalty rate. Mercedes-Benz finished second with 47.8% percent, followed by BMW with 45.1 percent, Porsche with 44.9 percent, and Audi with 43.4 percent.
Cars like the 2020 Lexus RC F may be a little outdated compared to other luxury models but Lexus' strong dealer network and service likely contributed to its high customer retention. On the mainstream side, Subaru once again took the win with 60.5 percent, just edging out Toyota with 60.3 percent. Toyota, Honda, RAM, and Ford followed. Cars like the 2020 Subaru Outback have very few direct competitors with standard AWD and a lifted wagon-like profile, which could explain the brand's success in this study.
"There are many factors that contribute to brand loyalty, ranging from the experience a customer has when purchasing the vehicle to how driving it makes them feel," said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at JD Power.
"Automakers are really focused on customer retention, as evidenced by the payment plans and incentives they've offered since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Many have gone above and beyond to offer customers financial assistance during a period of economic uncertainty, which does a lot to bolster consumer confidence in their chosen brand and repurchase it in the future."