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Brand loyalty linked to car type

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Posted: 9 am ET

What's the biggest reason car shoppers switch brands when they buy a new car? When the current brand doesn't build the type of car they want, according to the latest Customer Retention Study from JD Power and Associates.

Thirty-three percent of study respondents who switched automaker brands for their last purchase indicated that they did so because the brand didn't offer the car type they wanted. The study found that women and young car owners (aged 23 to 47) were the groups more likely to switch brands for this reason because they were "more likely to experience changes in the life circumstances, including growth in household size or changes in income levels," said director of automotive product research Raffi Festekjian in the report.

A smaller number of respondents said they switched for other reasons including being dissatisfied with their car, high costs of ownership (such as costs for maintenance and repairs as well as car insurance), problems with the car itself or insufficient resale value.

Hyundai was the brand that ranked highest in the study with a 64 percent retention rate, up 4 percentage points from the last study. The brands rounding out the top five were Ford and Honda, tied at 60 percent, and BMW and Kia, tied at 59 percent. The industry average was a 49 percent retention rate.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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