LOS ANGELES -- Honda has overtaken Toyota as the brand that does the best job of keeping U.S. customers.
A total of 64.7 percent of Honda buyers came back to the marque, according to the 2008 Customer Retention Study released today by J.D. Power and Associates. Toyota placed second, followed by its Lexus luxury division, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Hondas reputation for creating safe vehicles with high resale value has been instrumental in retaining owners, said Debbie Ortuno, product research and analysis manager at J.D. Power, in a statement.
Five Japanese brands were among the 11 marques that ranked above the average industry score of 48 percent. Ford and General Motors Chevrolet and Cadillac were the three U.S. brands that placed above average, as they were a year earlier. Land Rover, the U.K. unit sold by Ford Motor Co. to Indias Tata Motors during the survey period, was also above average. (See download at right.)
The study measures the percentage of new vehicle buyers and lessees who replace a previously purchased vehicle with another of the same brand. It charted purchases made from November of 2007 through May of this year.
Hondas score increased almost two percentage points over 2007 to 64.7 percent.
Toyotas fell to 63.2 percent from 64.6 percent.
Overall customer retention declined in 2008. The industry average had held steady at about 49 percent for the past five years.