Survey reveals vehicle models and brands that boast most-loyal customers


They are the model citizens of the automotive world.

Vehicles in 24 segments – mainstream and luxury – that have earned the loyalty of consumers.

From the “traditional” subcompact Mini Countryman to the full-size luxury Land Rover Range Rover SUV, these 2017 models demonstrated “superior customer retention and conquest.”

Besides the individual category winners, seven brands also were recognized with loyalty awards.

The Subaru Outback a customer-loyalty standout.

Overall, a record 53.6 percent – more than nine million – of new-car customers returned to the market to purchase or lease another vehicle from the same make they already owned, according to IHS Markit research (formerly Polk Automotive), which has been handing out the awards for 22 years.

For used-car shoppers, that history means many previous loyalty award winners are available used.

Repeat winners for mainstream models are the Honda Accord, traditional midsize car; Nissan Maxima, traditional full-size car; Chevrolet Volt, traditional compact; Dodge Challenger, mid-size sports car; Volkswagen GTI, sports car; Jeep Grand Cherokee, midsize SUV; Subaru Outback, midsize CUV; GMC Yukon Denali XL, full-size SUV; Ram 1500, half-ton pickup; Ford F-Series, three-quarter to one-ton pickup, and Jeep Wrangler, compact SUV, as well as five luxury vehicles.

The Jeep Wrangler has dominated its segment for at least five years.

Multiple-year segment winners Subaru Outback and GMC Yukon Denali XL scored three-peats, while the Jeep Wrangler’s segment dominance goes back at least five years, when IHS Markit acquired Polk.

The Mini Countryman; Honda Odyssey, midsize van; Honda Ridgeline, midsize pickup and Chevrolet Equinox compact CUV replaced 2016 model-year mainstream segment winners.

Among the brand winners were General Motors, overall manufacturer; Ford, overall make; Jeep, conquest percentage; Lincoln, dealer loyalty; Buick, most-improved loyalty to make, and Jaguar, most-improved conquest percent, with GM, Ford and Jeep all repeating 2016 model-year wins. GM and Jeep also scored three-peats, while Ford’s streak goes back at least five years, with about two-thirds of GM and Ford owners having remained loyal to their brands when buying or leasing in 2017.

Also notable in brand results is Toyota’s strength in ethnic markets, leading that category overall, as well as Hispanic, Asian and African American markets individually.

Almost two-thirds of owners with two vehicles of the same brand remained loyal last year.

IHS Markit loyalty award winners by model year are available here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.