This was a topic of conversation on a four-person road trip recently: All of our parents and grandparents were extremely loyal to a particular make of car (not to the same make, but all of them went back to their own manufacturer of choice again and again). That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. We know no one in their 40s who’s stuck with the same manufacturer car after car. Brand loyalty has completely disappeared, right?
“Completely disappeared” is an overstatement, though clearly, the pattern of buying a Ford or a Chevy or whatever each time it’s time to get a new car is less common than in decades past.
Here’s what the research shows: Lab42, a market research company, found earlier this year that 43 percent of the car buyers surveyed said they were loyal to a car brand they previously purchased. Toyota is the brand that inspires the greatest loyalty, they found, followed by Chevrolet and Honda.
With different methodology, research firm R.L. Polk found that 48 percent of people who bought a car in 2012 bought from the same brand they were already driving. The three with the greatest loyal customers were Ford, with 61.2 percent repeat buyers, they found, followed by Mercedes-Benz and Toyota
So, loyalty exists among some. Carmakers would like more, of course.
Reader slaps my wrist:
I heard from a reader from Washington state who was unhappy when I recently advised a mom worried that the orange car her offspring wanted to buy would not lead to financial ruination at trade-in time. “I am afraid that you have again missed an opportunity to teach,” the reader chided me after reading the response. Although she agreed with the reasons I gave for supporting the orange car choice, she said I left out a vital point. “You missed an opportunity to alleviate their concern by reminding them that orange is one of the safest colors.” As many as one-quarter of accidents occur because one driver did not see the other car, she pointed out. “You could have reassured the parents and informed the rest of your readers that having a bright-colored car is a means to achieving safety through visibility.”
Excellent point, of course!
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