Auto makers spend a great deal of their time focusing on what keeps a buyer returning to a certain company time and again. They constantly ask themselves two questions; how can we keep our current buyers and what can we do to lure buyers from everyone else? Certain things are working according to the latest R.L. Polk study. The results of the study showed that 48 percent of the people who bought a new car in 2012 returned to the brand they had been driving at the time of purchase. Ford topped the list with brand loyalty that topped 57 percent. The reasons may be quite myriad, but there are several recurring themes. Here are the top reasons buyers cite for brand loyalty and the reasons why certain brands are avoided.
- Fuel economy
- The ”deal”…incentives and price point
- Exterior styling
Reasons To Not Buy
- Poor exterior styling
- Too expensive
- Poor interior design and comfort
- Reliability issues…perceived and real
- Poor brand image…not being environmentally friendly, too ostentatious, car for old people, etc
Brand loyalty is easier and more cost efficient to promote than luring new customers. To that end, many auto makers offer deals to keep an owner buying from them. Cash incentives, free maintenance, or an early pay off of a company financed loan are common tactics. These tactics are aimed at putting the brakes on one trend among auto buyers…shopping around. In 2012, 29 percent of buyers had looked at another brand before returning to their brand of choice. That is up eight percentage points over 2010.
Can you cash in on this demand for brand loyalty? Yes. Many dealers will match the loyalty incentives of a rival. You will not see this kind of deal advertised. Mention the incentives at a rival dealership and see how fast you have a matching offer in front of you.