Hyundai First in Customer Retention, Jeep Shows Big Gains, Says JD Power

Hyundai has a customer retention rate of 64 percent – a four percent increase from 2010 – according to the latest JD Power and Associates study. The Sonata and Elantra are credited for Hyundai’s increased retention rate from third to first place.

“Hyundai’s increased retention rate is shaped by its expanding model lineup, as well as the fact that perceptions of the brand’s quality and appeal have continued to improve during the past decade,” said Raffi Festekjian, director of automotive product research at J.D. Power and Associates, in a press release.

Ford and Honda, which tied for the top spot in 2010 with 62 percent customer retention, slipped to a second-place tie in 2011, with 60 percent customer retention. Jeep had the highest gain in customer improvement, jumping 17 percent to 51. BMW, Kia, Toyota, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Cadillac round out the top 10.

The study also found that 19 of the 33 brands ranked had improved customer retention rates compared to 2010, the other 14 declined. Overall the average customer retention rate for the U.S. market was up one percent to 49. Saab (7 percent), Suzuki (20 percent), and Dodge (21 percent) were at the bottom of the list. Suzuki had the highest decline – seven percent – in the study.

One-third of new car buyers who changed makes said their previous brand didn’t make the type of vehicle they wanted, according to the study. Other reasons consumers gave for switching brands included “dissatisfaction with the previous vehicle, including the vehicle costs too much to own or maintain; there are too many problems with the vehicle; and the vehicle didn’t retain sufficient resale value.”

The JD Power study also found that women and younger buyers (ages 23 to 47) were less likely to buy or lease the same make as men and older buyers (48 years old and older). But, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Mercedes-Benz did well retaining women buyers and Ford, Kia, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz did well retaining younger buyers.

“Women and younger vehicle owners are more likely to experience changes in their life circumstances, including growth in household size or changes in income levels, that would lead them to purchase vehicles that better accommodate their new lifestyle,” said Festekjian.

Customer retention is defined as consumers who previously bought or leased a new car and replaced it with another new car from the same brand.

Source: JD Power, Automotive News

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