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Customer Loyalty: What Mass-Market Brands Rank Best, According to J.D. Power?

For an automaker, no matter what segment they’re in, customer loyalty is worth its weight in gold. When a vehicle owner is satisfied with their brand, and comes back a second time to buy, then a third and fourth, it’s money in the bank for the manufacturer.

We already looked at which luxury brands earn the highest level of loyalty among vehicle owners. Now we look at the mass-market carmakers that are the most – and least – likely to retain their clientele when they change their ride.

Get ready for a few unexpected results.

So which automotive brand takes the top spot in this new J.D. Power ranking? Subaru is most adept at keeping its clientele in-house from one vehicle purchase to the next. What’s more, its score as determined by the study is quite high: 61.5%.

Photo: Subaru

Behind the Japanese automaker sits, to the surprise of no one, Toyota with a retention rate of 59.5%. It outpaces Honda, at 57.7%. Proving that the American automakers still manage to earn strong loyalty from their customers, the fourth and fifth positions are held by Ram at 56.2% and Ford at 54%.

All other brands fell below the 50% mark; we find in order Kia (49.4%), Chevrolet (49%), Nissan (4.,8%), Hyundai (44.8%), Jeep (40.9%), Volkswagen (38.1%), Mazda (38%), GMC (37.5%), Mitsubishi (30.2%), Mini (29.1%), Buick (28.3%), Dodge (16.8%), Fiat (16.5%), Chrysler (14.4%) and Smart (14.3%).

Photo: Toyota

What stands out here is certainly the woeful performance of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), whose brands occupy three of the bottom four spots for customer loyalty. At those rates, mathematically the company could run out of clients altogether in a few years. At least there’s Ram to shore things up for the American giant. Also mildly surprising are the middling performances of Jeep and Mazda, two brands that traditionally have been associated with ferociously loyal owners.

There is a ton of information and many data points in this study, and you could make any number of analyses when extrapolating from them. For the moment, we’re filing away the results for use when looking at future twists and turns in the industry. Oftentimes these kinds of studies foreshadow changes and trends, and we’ll be keeping an eye on those in the coming months.

Stay tuned.

Photo: D.Boshouwers