Toyota Recaptures Corporate Loyalty Leadership


Toyota Motor Corp. has recaptured the top spot among automakers in U.S. customer loyalty for the first time since the third quarter of 2009, according to a study released by Experian Automotive.

Toyota had the highest corporate loyalty rate, at 47.3 per cent, during the second quarter, edging General Motors, 46.2 per cent; Ford Motor Co.; 46 per cent; and Hyundai-Kia Motor Group, 45.3 per cent. Honda Motor Co. Inc. was No. 5 with a loyalty rate of 43.1 per cent, Experian Automotive said.

The loyalty results measure what percentage of owners an automaker retains when a vehicle is traded in or comes off lease. The results are based on registration data and cover all of an automaker’s brands, Experian said. The Ford brand was the No. 1 individual brand, with a loyalty rate of 44.7 per cent during the second quarter. Ford was followed by the Toyota brand at 44.6 per cent, Experian Automotive said.

Toyota’s comeback is largely a function of its recovery from the March 2011 earthquake, said Jeffrey Anderson, director of consulting and analytics for Experian Automotive. The disaster disrupted vehicle supplies across the U.S. industry, especially for Toyota and Honda.

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“Toyota has done an outstanding job of regaining customer trust and getting repeat customers into showrooms,” Anderson said in a statement.

“To restore normal operations and regain customer trust in such a short time following the earthquake and tsunami is a truly remarkable comeback.”

The second-quarter loyalty data comes as Toyota begins a recall of about 2.5 million vehicles in the United States related to driver’s side power window switches that could pose a fire hazard. Toyota’s brand image was dinged even before last year’s tsunami restricted supplies. In early 2010, Toyota recalled close to 5 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States to replace floor mats, which were seen as a potential threat to catch the gas pedal.

Toyota said the latest loyalty survey demonstrates the company’s model lineup, dealers and service continue to meet the needs of most customers.

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