The automotive industry in the United States slowly rebounds to pre-pandemic levels of inventory and sales, which has an effect on consumer behavior when it comes to brand loyalty. The J.D. Power’s latest study focused on brand loyalty sheds light on these changing dynamics, revealing that more car buyers are now opting for variety over steadfast brand loyalty.
The lingering impact of supply chain disruptions, which constrained vehicle choices and forced owners to hold onto their cars for extended periods, contributed to the loyalty shift. Some of those issues are now resolved, revealing more options for the customers. Despite this trend away from brand loyalty though, the study also reveals that certain automakers have managed to maintain a strong hold on their customer base.
Starting with the premium segment, Porsche secures the top spot among premium brand car owners for the second consecutive year, boasting an impressive 56.8 percent loyalty rate. Mercedes-Benz follows second not far behind with a solid 50.5 percent loyalty rate. Volvo, meanwhile, tops the chart in the premium SUV segment with the highest loyalty rate of 56.5 percent. BMW comes second with 56.1 percent.
Just like last year, Toyota emerges as the leader among mass-market brand car owners with a robust 60.0 percent loyalty rate. Honda replaces Kia in the second position (55 percent loyalty rate). Subaru retains last year’s crown in the mainstream SUV segment with an impressive 61.1 percent loyalty rate. On the other hand, Ford continues to dominate the truck segment for the second year in a row with a loyalty rate of 64.6 percent.
“As vehicle availability increased and more choices hit the market for consumers, loyalty among brands as a whole saw a decline this year. Additionally, owners were tied down to their vehicles for longer than normal due to ongoing supply chain disruptions, and as a result, were more likely to experience problems with their vehicles," explains Tyson Jominy, VP of data and analytics at J.D. Power.
The J.D. Power Brand Loyalty Study relies on data from the Power Information Network to evaluate whether car owners stick with the same brand when trading in their existing vehicle for a new one. Now in its fifth year, the study encompasses brand loyalty across five distinct segments: premium car, premium SUV, mass-market car, mass-market SUV, and trucks.