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Polk study: GM has most loyal customers to date

R.L. Polk & Co. midyear loyalty ranking
Overall categories      
Manufacturer loyalty GM* 66.5 54.2
Make loyalty Ford Division 55.3 43.1
Model categories      
Small car Ford Focus* 20.8 14.4
Mid-sized car Mercury Sable 34.9 18.9
Large car Buick LeSabre* 43.4 27.5
Luxury car Cadillac DeVille* 43.3 21.1
Prestige luxury car Lexus LS 430 37.6 22.2
Sports car Porsche 911 22.8 10.9
Minivan Chrysler Town & Country 33.2 15.6
Compact pickup Toyota Tacoma 19.7 15.8
Full-sized pickup Chevy C/K 37.4 33.7
Compact sport-utility Toyota RAV4 21.9 14.3
Regular sport-utility Jeep Grand Cherokee* 26.8 19.9
Full-sized sport-utility Chevy Suburban* 30.3 20.4
*2000 Polk Automotive Loyalty Award Winner

DETROIT - If the trend continues, General Motors again will have the most loyal customers.

Standings for R.L. Polk & Co.'s Automotive Loyalty Awards show that through the first six months of the 2001 model year (ended in March), customers returned the most to GM to buy and lease vehicles. Rankings released Oct. 23 show GM's customer loyalty average measured 66.5 percent, 12 percentage points higher than the industry average of 54.2.

Polk's 2001 Manufacturer Loyalty Excelerator Report is the basis for the awards, to be given Jan. 6 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. GM won the overall manufacturer award last year.

Customer favor for GM put it in the lead in four of Polk's segment categories, which included the Chevrolet Suburban as the leading full-sized sport-utility. The Chevy C/K led the full-sized pickup category.

"Over the past few years, GM has improved its loyalty performance significantly," said Melissa Mullen, Polk's industry loyalty consultant. "GM's loyalty-building programs, which have included special incentives for returning GM owners, have all been successful."

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. showed high loyalty marks in the prestige luxury car category with the Lexus LS 430, and DaimlerChrysler's Jeep Grand Cherokee led the regular sport-utility category.

The Chrysler Town & Country, the leading minivan, is in a position to displace Ford Motor Co. in that segment. Either the Ford Windstar or Mercury Villager has topped the minivan category since the Polk survey began in 1995. R.L. Polk & Co. is in Southfield, Mich.

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