This year, Toyota has been dethroned.
For automakers, selling a car to someone isn't enough - they want to sell them multiple cars. Customer retention is hugely important in the automotive industry and each year, JD Power conducts an Automotive Brand Loyalty Study ranking the brands with the highest percentage of customers who buy a second car from the same brand. Last year in 2018, Toyota topped the list on the mainstream side and ranked number one on the luxury survey with its Lexus brand. This year, the top mainstream spot has been shaken up a bit and the top three luxury automakers have changed.
"Customer loyalty is perhaps the most important metric for manufacturers because it incorporates many factors that lead customers to become brand ambassadors," said Tyson Jominy, Vice President of Data and Analytics at JD Power. "When a brand can connect emotionally with owners through the vehicle's content, capabilities or prestige level, owners are much more likely to come back and purchase that same brand again."
Using data from the Power Information Network, JD Power calculates if a current owner purchased from the same brand after trading in an old purchase or lease. Subaru topped the mainstream list in 2019 with 61.5% customer retention. Last year's winner, Toyota, ranked second with 59.5% followed by, Honda, RAM, Ford, Kia, Chevrolet, Nissan, Hyundai, Jeep, Volkswagen, Mazda, GMC, Mitsubishi, Buick, Dodge, Fiat, Chrysler, and the Smart brand (which has now been discontinued and put out of its misery). The mainstream list doesn't have too many massive shakeups but it is interesting to see Toyota dethroned at the number one spot.
On the luxury side, Lexus once again ranked number one with 47.6% customer retention. You'll notice the overall scores for the luxury brands are lower than the mainstream brands, likely because customers can be swayed by new technology and a luxury car purchase is more of an emotional decision. The rest of the list includes Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, Maserati, Acura, Lincoln, Cadillac, Volvo, Infiniti, and Jaguar. Last year's list had Lexus, Audi, and Land Rover at 1, 2, and 3, so this section was more of a shakeup than the mainstream side.