Sunday, April 5, 2020

J.D. Power Releases Brand Loyalty Study for 2019, Subaru Takes Top Honors


J.D. Power’s annual Automotive Brand Loyalty Study came out for 2019 this week. According to the outlet, Subaru outranks every other brand when it comes to consumer loyalty. That meshes with any anecdotal evidence I’ve accumulated by just speaking with people. Despite some nagging quality concerns stemming from the company’s swift sales growth, most people I know that have driven a Subaru still want one.

ubaru also has been running some of the best advertisements within the industry with the broadest possible appeal (as they often feature dogs) over the last few years. Almost every woman I’ve spoken with feels positively about the brand and, while I can’t say the same about the men, it’s not a nameplate that receives much ire with laypersons — minus the odd tale of a tragic timing chain mishap (I told you to take it in, Sean).

The J.D. Power study says Subaru ranks highest among mass-market brands and highest among all automakers with a loyalty rate of 61.5 percent. Toyota is in second with a 59.5 percent rating, while Honda comes in third with 57.7 percent. Ford and Ram, were the only other two mainstream brands that managed to stay above 50 percent.

However, you probably want to know which marques have settled at the bottom of the bowl. Mitsubishi, Buick, and Mini were all hovering around 30 percent. Digging a little deeper through the muck, we uncovered Dodge, Fiat, Chrysler and Smart. None of those brands broke the 17 percent loyalty barrier. Odd, considering FCA’s domestic nameplates have been getting more favorable reliability and quality rankings from outlets like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power of late. Dodge also has a pretty slick marketing team and, you know, Mopar fans — unfairly maligned by other auto communities for their deep-seated passion (don’t worry, brothers, the heretics will pay for their crimes against us). Though we suppose true advocates likely don’t factor in much when considering broader loyalty inclinations. It’s not like the general industry trend has had much to do with courting enthusiasts lately, anyway.

For luxury brands, J.D. Power placed Lexus at the top with 47 percent — followed by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, and Audi. Land Rover was up next but the entire field was middling. No brand stood out as performing terribly well or poorly in terms of customer loyalty, with Jaguar being the only exception. It had a loyalty rate of 20 percent, when every other company managed 32 or better.

If you want to call J.D. Power out, which you are welcome to do, note that it states that the study’s findings are based on the percentage of vehicle owners who choose the same brand when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle using data from its own “Power Information Network.” As it relies heavily on trade-ins, brands that are more-likely to have been sold privately likely performed worse than those that aren’t. The 2019 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study calculations are based on transaction data from June 2018 through May 2019 and include all model years traded in.