The folks at Experian Automotive never cease to amaze; they make their market in analyzing various business numbers and extracting all manner of interesting information. They can squeeze a digital daiquiri out of a corporate rock, and their most recent bit of statistical bartending had them looking at “corporate loyalty” in the new car market.
Note that isn’t sales volume; you can find those numbers everywhere. This is all about returning customers, the ones that already own a nameplate product. Any business, yours included, has to bank on satisfying its customers through both product and service. If they’re happy, they’ll come back when its time to buy.
Experian looked at the first quarter of 2012 (denoted Q1) and computed the loyalty rate for many OEMs. The rate reflects the percentage of present owners buying the marque again during the period. Take a guess at the top four loyalty leaders. Who do you pick…the usual suspects or the “hot rides” with the flashy commercials and ads?
If you picked the latter, you’d lose. Experian Automotive found that GM and Ford held the top loyalty spots, with ratings of 48.4 and 47.4 percent respectively. That means almost half of the folks buying or leasing one of these new vehicles in Q1 already owned something else from the company. The numbers show that Ford had seven of the top 10 models for brand loyalty and their Fusion led the pack with a 61.1 percent loyalty rating.
Third and fourth places were occupied by more of the usual suspects: Toyota came notched a 45.7 percent rating and Honda garnered 42.1 percent. While those numbers seem to lag the leaders by a few points, remember that the entire Asian production chain was hugely affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March, 2011. The fact that all the companies have recovered to this point in just over a year shows their strong performance.
While not a sales leader in volume, Experian notes that Chrysler made large strides in Q1, increasing unit sales, market share and customer loyalty. The company’s 36.2 percent loyalty was a significant increase over Q1 in 2011.
Volume sales and number of units sold are of course an important measures of a company’s success, but it’s a lot easier to sell another one to a happy customer. Any lessons in here for your business?