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New-car sales, loyalty rise

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

As new-car purchases have been rising steadily since mid-2009, so has consumer loyalty to automotive brands, with Toyota, Ford and General Motors grabbing the top spots in loyalty in various areas, according to the latest data from Experian Automotive.

Experian found that Toyota has gained the top spot in corporate loyalty, with 47.3 percent of new-car purchasers remaining loyal at the corporate level by buying another Toyota, Lexus or Scion car. The loyalty increase meant that Toyota regained the top spot for the first time since fall 2009, surpassing General Motors and Ford. The top five automakers in corporate loyalty were: Toyota  (47.3 percent), General Motors (46.2 percent), Ford (46.0 percent), Hyundai (45.3 percent) and Honda (43.1 percent).

Despite Toyota's top spot in corporate loyalty, it only had one vehicle in the top 10 list of models where owners of a specific model purchase another car from the same overall brand. Of the top 10 vehicles, Ford had six models where consumers were pleased enough to buy a new car from the same brand. However, the top spot on that list went to the Chevrolet Sonic, for which 60.3 percent of owners bought another Chevrolet vehicle.

Concurrent with the increase in new-car sales has been a decrease in auto loan interest rates, which currently average 3.19 percent for a 48-month new-car loan,  or $22.22 per month per $1,000 financed, according to Bankrate's auto loan calculator.

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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