DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. retained the crown in the 2014 model year for most-loyal customers, while Maserati won top honors for conquests, according to the IHS Automotive Loyalty Awards.
IHS Automotive looked at nearly 16.5 million new-vehicle registrations and found that among both manufacturers and makes, Ford Motor and the Ford brand had the highest percentage of customers returning to buy or lease another Ford.
The U.S. automaker won in both the overall loyalty to manufacturer and the loyalty to make categories for the fifth year in a row.
Some 1.05 million customers returned to market over the surveyed year to buy Ford Motor products, giving the manufacturer an overall loyalty rate of 63.7 percent.
Repeat demand for hot-sellers such as the Ford F-150 pickup delivered Ford a manufacturer loyalty rate of 66 percent in trucks. Passenger-car loyalty was just over half that, at 34 percent.
The results were announced Jan. 13 at the Automotive News World Congress. IHS looked at registrations during the 2014 model year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014.
Over that period, 11 brands surveyed kept more customers than they lost, while 25 lost more than they conquested.
Maserati was the best at persuading car buyers to switch brands. It took home the customer conquest title for the highest conquest level as a percent of registrations.
The win was almost a gimme for the Italian sports car maker, which was all but nonexistent in the U.S. market in 2013 but saw sales surge under an aggressive expansion spurred by Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the make’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Maserati sales nearly tripled to 12,943 vehicles in 2014 from just 4,768 the year before.
Maserati also won the overall award for most improved loyalty to a make. Maserati’s loyalty rate rose 10.9 percentage points to 40.1 percent in 2014, from 29.2 percent the previous year.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury brand won the category for most improved in conquests as a percent of sales.
“As the overall market growth flattens, the competition for buyers returning to market has never been greater,” IHS Automotive Senior Vice President Edouard Tavernier said in a statement. “Manufacturers will need to continue to launch great new products to retain their customers, while driving aggressive conquest programs in order to be successful at growing their market share.”
The IHS Automotive Loyalty Awards are presented annually to automakers and brands that demonstrate an ability to retain owners over repeat buying cycles.
In key segment loyalty awards, the Honda Accord was a repeat winner in the nonluxury traditional midsize car category.
The Nissan Leaf electric vehicle notched the best loyalty in the nonluxury traditional compact car segment.
The Chevrolet Silverado edged rivals in the nonluxury full-size half-ton pickup category. The Jeep Grand Cherokee won in the nonluxury midsize SUV segment.
For a fifth straight year, the Ford brand won top honors for loyalty among African American consumers, IHS Automotive said. Toyota garnered the most loyalty among Hispanics and Asians.