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How Auto Makers Keep You Coming Back

The Wall Street Journal -- Auto makers are paying close attention to consumer attitudes about sticking with a brand, because loyalty isn't just an admirable personal virtue to them. It's money in the bank. That's something every driver should bear in mind when car shopping or wrangling with a dealer.

The latest R.L. Polk study of brand and vehicle loyalty in the auto industry, released last week, found that 48% of people who bought a car in 2012 bought from the same brand they were already driving. Polk says the three brands with the most loyal customers were Ford, with 61.2% repeat buyers, Mercedes-Benz (57.7%) and Toyota (54.4%).

Reasons for staying loyal can vary. For buyers across the vehicle and price spectrum, the top attributes that inspire a purchase include fuel economy, reliability and pricing,


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Submitted Jan 23, 2013 By: aservant
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Author Topic: How Auto Makers Keep You Coming Back Back to Topics
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Amplion
Champion Author Oregon

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Message Posted: Jan 24, 2013 2:55:30 AM

GM, Ford & Toyota: I will never again buy. All three have problems with Realiability and safety.

RWD CHRYSLER/DODGE & RWD BMW HAVE BEEN FAR SUPERIOR CARS FOR SAFETY & RELIABILITY IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE.
TurkishMan
All-Star Author Dallas

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Message Posted: Jan 24, 2013 2:25:25 AM

has a capacity
jethro5000
Champion Author Kentucky

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 3:12:24 PM

ford with 61.2% repeat business.... thats great!
berniMI
Champion Author Flint

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 2:18:12 PM

I totally with "Drahtlose" below, I have had many cars one I had for l8 years my Mom 'grocery' store car... that's all she went to a Buick, then,
l kid drove it got their own car when to the next kid. sold it for $4,000.00
Yes, it was kept up very well.

Yes, had the same mechanic that I do today, about 5 cars later. He's great
and at least 1/2 price of service dept. of any Dealership.
BigKart
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 1:37:34 PM

Ford has an incredible advantage with technology today. Compare Sync features with any other automakers. No comparison. Integration with that one little device that we're all addicted to: the smart phone! Ford's worst attribute: the dealership people who are still slamming customers like they all did in the "old days". I will drive 100 miles to avoid having to trade with my local Ford dealer. Manufacturers must think that the dealer is great, though, as he has Ford, Chevy, Buick.... almost all the US brands under his name in several surrounding cities. That says a lot about what the manufacturers value, and it's NOT customer service and loyalty!
doctorindyj
Champion Author Santa Fe

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 11:21:34 AM

If they want people to come back they wouldn't pull some of the crap that some of them have pulled or tried to pull on me in the past. The negative experience I've had at one particular dealer put me off that brand forever. A little haggling whether I come out on top or not is fine but just outright being cheated is not.
BudsterMO
Champion Author Kansas City

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 10:33:02 AM

Good.
PackerfanMN
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 10:24:49 AM

I think customer service after the purchase is more important than brand loyalty.
jeffbone
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 10:16:19 AM

yes, but how many people would buy from the same dealer again...?
lpatti1
Champion Author Philadelphia

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 10:02:07 AM

Yep! PLANNED OBSOLENCE!
erbyfub
Champion Author Raleigh

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:58:06 AM

Yup, hOnda seems good
rbrk02
Champion Author Rhode Island

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:57:00 AM

Ford keeps me coming back by being reliable and easy to maintain at the local repair shop.
cssco
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:53:14 AM

Hey, yelobus @09:23:54, don't Dodge it, Ram it!
yanman22
All-Star Author Rochester

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:51:42 AM

I am a Ford guy, but if there is something better available I have no problem switching
cssco
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:47:08 AM

Just knowing that Old Henry is in the ground look up and out for the owners benefit is a big comfort to many Ford Guys.

[Edited by: cssco at 1/23/2013 9:47:55 AM EST]
Drahtlose
Champion Author Philadelphia

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:46:26 AM

Service and maintenance after purchase is not being mentioned. The lifetime of a car is 10 to 12 years. The manufactures give a monopoly on parts to their dealers. Even so, I have found a good repair shop I have used for 5 years, and they consistently charge half the price of the dealers. How bout some antitrust enforcement? How bout some standardized parts like the old round headlights?

With all the computers, etc., I will carefully investigate the FULL life-cycle cost, including service, before buying.

PS: Consumer Reports still puts Toyota first in reliability, though there are some competitors coming up.
mitchells
Champion Author Montreal

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:45:23 AM

From 1983 to about 1995, our family was a Honda family, buying about 5 cars over that time from Honda/Acura. All of them lasted about 9-10 years before we moved on to the next one.

I broke the mold switching to an Audi, and it's now 12 years old.

What makes me pick a brand? Well, I can tell you one thing, when I hear story after story, of people with American cars, where the dealers don't even blink at the thought of having to swap out the whole engine or transmission after 50-60k, that tells me a lot, like to stay as far away from them as possible.

Sure, any car needs maintenance, and some things do wear out (alternators, brakes, etc). but a clutch, transmission, ENGINE, those are the critical big parts that should be strong enough to last a lifetime.

Of course this is also reflected in the depreciation values, which is why not only are US cars cheap to buy, but they drop in value a lot faster than others.

When I sold my '92 Civic after 10 years and 250,000kms, I still got about 30% of it's original purchase price back. How much do you think a 10 year old Cavalier was worth?
LK2FLY
Rookie Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:44:42 AM

Oh, I'll come back. In about 10-15 years. If you still top the Consumer Reports list!
krobp46
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:43:58 AM

I see brand loyalists continually buying Toyota Camrys. This is like always getting a new version of a dated product
cableman31
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:43:26 AM

I was a die hard BUICK man. Since the bailout where GM screwed not only their loyal workforce but hundreds of thousands of loyal customers I have joined the rest of my family and became a FORD CUSTOMER. I now have a LINCOLN and plan to replace it this year with another LINCOLN. I only buy AMERICAN but I would buy a foreign car before I would touch CHINA-GM. Just a couple of months ago the CEO of CHINA-GM announced in a speech that seven out of every ten GM cars have a DIRECT LINK to CHINA, plus they invested a good part of their bailout TAXPAYER MONEY IN CHINA.
slgas
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:42:46 AM

Stick with a winner when you find one. Even works pretty well in the stock market.
EnviroChemist
Champion Author Oklahoma

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:40:46 AM

Brand loyalty, or creatures of habit?
techque
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:40:25 AM

did they completely forget the relationship with the dealer? or just choose to ignore it??
Hangnail309
Champion Author Manitoba

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:39:08 AM

Not too surprising
rasprout
Champion Author Tacoma

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:38:36 AM

They have a thought here...
I have bought 6 Chrysler because the cars I had were good and the dealer decent to us. We are only now thinking about making a change because the dealer has become rather slippery...
good points!
dlemma
Champion Author Wyoming

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:38:19 AM

If the company continues to build safe, reliable and which have good fuel economy their customers will keep buying from them.
jimraehl
Champion Author Utah

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:36:47 AM

I only bought two new cars, a Karmann Ghia in 1967, and a Maverik in 1969.
pumper9x9
All-Star Author Colorado

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:36:40 AM

all my vehicles are at least 10 yrs old and will probably remain that way for the rest of my life because I go for function more than form.
TBecker1415
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:36:25 AM

loyalty is what any and all business is looking for. If you don't have repeat customers, the business isn't going to be around very long.
Chadgas
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:34:41 AM

Never bought the two same makes in a row.
BigHorne1
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:34:31 AM

interesting article, but variety is the main key.
yelobus
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:33:52 AM

I'm a Dodge man but they renamed themselves as far as trucks are concerned. I'm looking at fuel economy in a new midsize truck. Hard to come by.
Rancher23
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:33:52 AM

Make them sexy and Cheap and they will come!!
albert2008
Champion Author Winnipeg

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:33:34 AM

good for ford
SnickersDog
Champion Author Denver

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:33:04 AM

Okay
AnObserver
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:33:04 AM

Repeat customers are an excellent incentive for manufacturers to build good cars
mikesr100
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:32:27 AM

I like my Jeeps!
alex395
Champion Author Louisville

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:32:23 AM

Not me, currently own 4 Government Motors vehicles. Will never buy Government Motors again. Obama and his union cronies can take my bailout money but they can't make me a buyer again.
mmcentire
All-Star Author Arkansas

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:32:06 AM

ok
dgracing318
Champion Author Georgia

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:30:57 AM

Ok
Janetique
Champion Author Virginia Beach

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:30:55 AM

Build a quality product that is comfortable and reliable; you will have loyalty.
Rich_pa
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:30:17 AM

Living in a GM family and getting that discount helps.
ruca2012
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:29:43 AM

they are right I would buy another car of the same brand, too bad it's not Ford.
gvan
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:29:01 AM

It isn't definite yet but I'll probably buy another GM vehicle because of the GM credit card earnings. Typically, I'll have around $2,000 credit towards a new GM vehicle and they will round it off to $3,000. Hard to turn down a $3,000 discount in addition to any rebates and dealer discount off the MRSP.
LarksNY
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:26:31 AM

Build crap that forces us back time and time again??
jcotaxi
Champion Author South Bend

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:26:21 AM

Loyalty is based in trust. You have to give a loyal customer a reason to not return. But when you do, don't expect any surprises.
Wizrd03
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:26:15 AM

Why ruin a good thing by switching if you're satisfied?
TxMtb
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:25:39 AM

They have to maintain that customer satisfaction, there is a lot of competition that is just waiting for someone to be unhappy.
jwalkerh
Champion Author Louisiana

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:24:24 AM

If the price is right and it's reliable, it's a winner.
lindalm25
All-Star Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:23:26 AM

Not too surprising
pastorpaulcg
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 23, 2013 9:23:07 AM

Good to know
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