By on January 11, 2017

2016 Honda Accord sedan red

Brand loyalty is a central element in the consumer culture that we’re all slaves to. There is a specific Korean company that makes most of the electronics I own, an American distiller that I trust with my alcohol, and I have never purchased any toilet paper other than the one that has the dog for a mascot. When I buy another motorcycle, I already know what it’s going to be — and I can say the same thing about jeans, waffles, or boots.

As automotive enthusiasts, most of us are informed enough to have our preferences without succumbing to a blind faith in any singular model or brand. That said, the rest of the population isn’t made up of car devotees. Some people will happily return to a familiar dealership, buy a familiar truck, drive their new purchase home, and immediately apply a decal of Calvin urinating on the emblem of a rival brand.

Fortunately, it’s not always about automotive zealotry. Often, people return to a particular model or manufacturer because it treated them right. As it turns out, they’ve been awarding trophies based on this phenomenon for two decades. Last night, business and marketing research provider IHS Markit presented the 21st annual Automotive Loyalty Awards in Detroit.

So, where do the strongest automotive loyalties lie?

Of the thirty winners, General Motors took the big prize with Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer. However, Ford achieved the highest overall loyalty rate of all makes during the 2016 model year, winning the Overall Loyalty to Make award. When that support was broken down along ethnic lines, Ford showed a particularly strong devotion among African-American consumers.

Asian customers returned to Mercedes-Benz products the most, while Hispanic buyers were most loyal to Toyota.

Tesla was recognized for bringing in the most committed consumers in 2016, while Cadillac saw the largest influx of “super loyalists” — those willing to repurchase a vehicle from their chosen brand 76 percent of the time.

As for individual models, it should be no surprise that Ford’s F-Series is a popular repeat buy for those seeking a heavy-duty pickup, while Ram’s 1500 ended up being the more popular half-ton. Also unsurprising to see on the list of consumer darlings was Jeep’s Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.

The Chrysler Town & Country spent its final year on Earth beloved and believed-in by minivan loyalists.

True believers in luxury were more likely than not to repurchase their Mercedes-Benz GLS or G-Class. The same was true for sedan enthusiasts that opted for an S-Class. Germany dominated the sports car faithful as well — Volkswagen’s GTI and the Porsche 911 both offered a superior rate of customer retention.

In the bland world of family cars, Honda’s Accord took the midsize car category and Subaru’s Outback was the popular crossover pick.

IHS Markit’s analysis revealed that, with 17.5 million new vehicle registrations for the 2016 model year, nearly 53 percent of all customers returned to purchase a vehicle from the brand they already owned — representing a record loyalty rate and 1.3 percent increase from the 2015 model year.

[Image: Honda]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

56 Comments on “Stand By Your Man(ufacturer): Here Are the Makes and Models Owners Can’t Stay Away From...”

  • avatar

    I’d buy another Audi (if I had the cash) or an Acura. Then again I like variety so I probably wouldn’t.

  • avatar

    Count me in with the Hispanics as a Toyota loyalist, although I am not Hispanic. Seems like terrorists are pretty fond of the Toyota brand as well, although I don’t think Toyota is wanting their endorsement for the Hilux just yet.

  • avatar

    I was trying to be disloyal to Mazda. It is that just others don’t make the cut in driving excitement. (I mean, in “not too expensive” category)

  • avatar

    I didn’t set out to drive Fords for the last 25 years, they just had what I wanted at the time I was looking. When I got back into racing in the early 90’s I wanted a small van to tow a lightweight trailer and race car. The Chrysler vans were expensive if you needed a trailer towing package, and the GM vans were bigger and heavier than what I wanted, especially since this would be my daily driver. The Aerostar fit the bill perfectly. Next go around, I wanted a small three door hatch with a manual transmission and a sunroof that was fun to drive, and the first generation Focus checked all the boxes. This last time, I promised my wife I wouldn’t get another hatch, and I needed something with an automatic transmission that my daughters could use while learning to drive, and when I found I could get a Fusion as a plug in hybrid, I knew I’d found my next car.

  • avatar

    “Of the thirty winners, General Motors took the big prize with Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer.”


    “Asian customers returned to Mercedes-Benz products the most…”


    “…Cadillac saw the largest influx of “super loyalists” — those willing to repurchase a vehicle from their chosen brand 76 percent of the time.”

    “IHS Markit’s analysis revealed that..”


    *Let’s see methodology, data, etc. What a bunch of prima facie bullish*t, and how much do I need to pay to buy an IHS MARKIT TROPHY

    • 0 avatar

      Caddy still has the remaining cohort of folks who buy a new one every three, and won’t look elsewhere. They are dying off, but not quite yet.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny, Deadweight, I believe the fact Asians are faithful to their Mercs and Beemers! I work in a company where the average wages are very Middle Class and where Asians make up the majority of employees and, beleive it or not, there are more Mercs, Beemers, Audis, Porsches and High-end VW Touaregs than there are Fords or Chryslers – i’d say these brands are almost 1 of 4 cars in the parking lot.(OK. there are more Hondas and Toyotas, but still…)

    • 0 avatar

      I was at a business lunch years ago, and a guy described how he was driving his Chevy Celebrity on the freeway when the entire dashboard set itself free and was hanging all kittywampus by the wiring. He nearly got into an accident or two, and had to tape it together to drive it to the dealer. I asked what happened. He responded that he traded it in. On another Celebrity. That could be described as loyalty, or there may be another name for it.

  • avatar

    I agree on the Hispanic Toyota thing, I am on my fourth since 1986 and most of my family members joined me when they realized how happy I was with the brand./ Also in Puerto Rico, the brand is like an institution.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    If you went to the East Coast of Canada from the 1950’s until the turn of this century you would have believed that Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth were the best selling vehicles on the planet.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny you should say that, and probably true. A friend and I went on a road trip to the east coast in 1999. At the time I noticed an inordinate number of 1st-3rd gen Chargers in peoples’ driveways, ranging from mint to parts car condition. I said that if I repeated the trip I should bring a car trailer next time and buy one to bring home. Two summers ago I did go on another east coast road trip with my family, but all the Chargers seem to have vanished.

  • avatar

    @ DeadWeight: Took the words right out of my mouth. GM? Really? etc. etc.

    • 0 avatar

      My father purchased TWO Blazers back to back for what its worth.

      However I do smell BS here, how can the Volt win “Non-Luxury Traditional Compact Car” its only been thru one redesign. Are you telling me that everyone who bought a V1 went out and bought the V2? Wonder how many were leases.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My latest loyalty is to Hyundai/Kia (5), but I’ve had loyalties in the past to Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth (4) and Ford (4).

    Since I work on my own cars, part of this loyalty stems from becoming familiar with how each mfr does things.

    *Dis*loyalty may be even more important – what brand will you never buy, or never buy again?

    • 0 avatar

      GM and VW. Although the latter, being a pair of classic Beetles, did not disappoint at all. They just went downhill ever since.

    • 0 avatar

      For me- it’s VW, and I’ve owned 4. I’ll never own another. 1st one was great and then each one got progressively glitchier.

    • 0 avatar

      I”m currently on team Kia. I went from Team GM (90s) to Team Toyota (00s) to team, like, Honda/Mazda?(late 2000s) to Kia. My Sorento is laughably better than everything else in its class, you’d be a sucker not to test drive one.

  • avatar

    I’m fiercely loyal to some brands (Nike, Apple, Eddie Bauer, etc), and that includes cars:

    Ford – 15
    GM – 6
    Honda – 3 (current)
    Toyota – 1 (current)
    Chrysler – 2
    Kia – 1

    That being said, never say never…I could wind up buying something other than another Honda (no more Toyotas for me) in the near future.

  • avatar

    I got $500.00 owner loyalty cash when I traded my 2008 Mazda3 for a 2016 Mazda6, so that was cool. I think we got the loyalty cash when we bought my wife’s CX-5 in 2012, as well, since I still owned my 3 at that point.

    People ask me why I like Mazdas so much, especially on here (since they have a lot of articles written about how they sell hardly anything and no one buys them or knows what they are). Response: I took a gamble and bought my 3 with no prior experience with the brand (had only owned GM before that). It was rock solid reliable and treated me well for six years. That led me to purchase my wife a then-new 2013 CX-5, which has been rock-solid reliable and treated us well for four years now. That, plus the continued reliability (and lack of rust) with my 3 led me to upgrade to a 6. I have no reason to change as long as they treat me well.

    I’m one of the very few that feels that way about Mazda, but I know several people who share those opinions of Honda or Toyota. At least around here, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I remain a Mazda critic, but I have no criticism for anyone’s choice of vehicle.

      And I don’t blame you for sticking with what works for your family. A trouble-free car is worth a lot, especially if it gives you zoom-zoom. :)

  • avatar


    IHS is looking at a one year time period.

    Look at GM’s marketshare history for the past 30-40 years.

    If people were really THAT loyal to GM, would Honda and Toyota be as successful as they are today?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe GM”s owners remained loyal… right up to the point where they took that last ride in a GM hearse. Meanwhile, younger customers weren’t taking their places.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s probably part of it, but it was the baby boomers in the 80s that defected from GM en masse for the imports. My Dad was one of them.

        GM may have done well for the 2016 model year, but historically they’re a case study on how a corporation can lose a massive number of once loyal customers.

  • avatar

    That’s a funny thing. I’ve had Ford (Mercury), BMW, VW (a few times), Caddy, and Acura. Each one was the best choice at the time for equipment vs. money. I can’t say I’m loyal to any. I like BMW, but not the complication and expense. I like Caddy, but I’m learning about the GM parts bin and how long those parts last, never mind they are half the cost of BMW parts. My Mercury was good but wore out at 120k, which is a short four years in my driveway.

    I can’t say I’m super loyal to any of them. If any thing, I’ve learned to pick very carefully in each vineyard. I won’t say “never again” to any of them based on the ownership experience.

    They all suck in their own way. Each has parts that die that should not (expansion tanks BMW, wheel bearings caddy, Cat Converters Acura, DPF VW) insert your favorite here) I think trying to find “the best” or “most reliable” is almost a fool’s errand. The B/B on this board all maintain the car…we aren’t reddit’s “just rolled into the shop”, where there is a photo of a brake that not only has no pad, but has no caliper, or the great photos of engines that NEVER had an oil change.

    Any normal person would have tossed my BMW 100k ago, but I’m willing to DIY and the resources are there. If you don’t change oil, and don’t fix anything that has not actively stopped working, your experience for “reliable” will differ quite a bit. Generalize over the mass population, and you’ll find a few things that just blow up for bad engineering (early Vega engines-chains on the early GM HFV6 although not keeping oil up had a lot to do with that one) and others that do or do not tolerate a zero maintenance schedule. The early Hondas and Toyotas are notable. Likewise, the US market is littered with euros who thought that the suggested maintenance in the owner’s manual would actually be done.

    There is a reason that your expen$ive lease-mobile has free maintenance while you have it….it is because the Automaker wants to be sure that car as CPO isn’t a time bomb waiting to boomerang on them from the second owner. There are more folks than you’d think who will say “ef this, it goes back in four months, I”m NOT changing the oil, just shut the light off”.

    • 0 avatar

      You’ve hit on alot of things, but the tough part about reliability is that in some cases, the person who owns it matters more than the company who designed it / made it.

      But things like wheel bearings that fail after 40k miles (GM seems to be over-represented by that) or manufacturers who make cooling systems that last 100k miles (BMW) are just low quality. There’s a good amount of prepped Wranglers and 4Runners with their stock wheel bearings and 200k miles on the odometer.

      It’d be nice if we could just identify problem areas by model / manufacturer. For what it’s worth, some cars have very few problems. Corollas and Priuses are known to be pretty solid. And even though consumer reports is down on Tahoes and Suburbans, most people I know have had solid experiences with them.

      And even if F-150s have issues (it seems like an F-150 with an issue is pretty uncommon) the cost of repairs seems unusually low.

      All of those are important things to weigh, yeah?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      ‘There are more folks than you’d think who will say “ef this, it goes back in four months, I”m NOT changing the oil, just shut the light off”.’

      You’ve got that right. My TDI, which Volkswagen will purchase back in February, is 800 miles overdue for a DSG fluid change and coming up on an oil change. I’m not performing either one.

  • avatar

    I was a loyal VW customer for more than 20 years for a total of 5 new (all but one kept for more than 100k miles) and 3 pre-owned. But, as someone said above, they became glitchier and glitchier as the years went on and I also went on to other makes.

  • avatar

    I’m on my third Accord (and fourth new Honda) since I finished college in ’92 and started a real job in 1993. Since 1991, my family’s purchased a total of eight more Hondas.

    Even with all that in mind, if the next Accord goes down the sewer stylistically, if the move to a shared platform with the Civic results in a loss of the extra refinement always present in Accords, and especially if Honda dumps the V6 for a gerbil wheel, I will toss that loyalty aside and become another anonymous drone in a Camry, albeit one with a V6 and select TRD handling bits, and perhaps some body-colored vinyl wrap on parts of the grille to break up the “gaping maw” look just a bit.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    6 Fords, 3 SAABS, 1 each Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Citroen.

    I currently own 2 Fords, a new C-Max dd and an 01 Taurus wagon for my business. I don’t really look for Fords, they’ve just most often had the right combination of car and price when I’ve been looking.

    There isn’t any make that I won’t look at if it sounds good. Since even the worst new car of the last 15 years is probably better then all but the best cars from 40 years ago I look at it like high end chainsaws. The first thing I look at is “Do I trust the local dealer?”

    I keep wanting to like Honda but Just like my Accord of 35 years ago I really like everything about them, except the seats are murder on my back. Add in the dealer has been kind of iffy when I have been there and I my not own another, at least until I move.

  • avatar

    My family’s experiences here in the US have been exclusively with Japanese vehicles, namely a string of progressively less used up and less rusty Civics followed by a pair of MK1 Mazda MPVs that are still in the family. The majority of our fellow Russian emigres have generally stayed with Japanese nameplates as well (Toyota and Honda mostly), with a few outliers (a Cutlass Ciera here, a Caravan there). Back in the ‘old country,’ there trends to be a fierce loyalty to Toyotas anywhere East of the Urals, with other Japanese makes picking up the scraps, and of course a solid contingent of deep-rural dwellers that just keep on rewelding the bodies on their Soviet era Ladas, Volgas and Moskvitches.

    I’d be curious to see a further analysis of how GM came out on top. I know multiple people locally in Indiana that buy GM by default because they have GM credit cards going way back, as well as generous family discounts from retired UAW fathers and such. Just looking at the sheer number of W-body Impalas around here, both the older “raccoon eyes” 00-05 cars and the final 06-13 gen it’s easy to see a continuity of serial GM buyers. Out by my brother’s in rural Central PA, it seems like GM trucks are the preferred HD truck of choice by farmers. He’s done more brake line jobs and speedometer fixes than he can remember.

    • 0 avatar

      “I’d be curious to see a further analysis of how GM came out on top.”

      Yeah, so would I. IMO, this is just fake news. Wishful thinking by some day dreamer.

      I can’t see GM being first in anything, except maybe bankrupture or death by vehicle due to faulty ignition switch.

  • avatar

    I’ve owned a lot of cars, but have never had brand loyalty. I drive (test drive; track drive) a ton of cars, too. I find something to like with about everything I drive. Most of my family worked for Chrysler; son currently works at FCA (Chrysler) HQs… we have 3 Toyotas at this time; and one Dodge minivan. :)

  • avatar

    No car brand loyalty whatsoever. Cars on offer and one’s needs and means evolve. GM, Nissan, Chrysler, Suzuki, Ford.

  • avatar

    I guess looking at my history I seem pretty loyal to Honda, and Hondas are far away my favorite cars from the ’90s and mid-’00s, but these days Toyota and Lexus really have my attention. I own one Lexus and one old Acura. But then again I lease a Ford because it was electric and available staggeringly cheap.

  • avatar

    GTI for me (3 total, currently driving one).

    I owned Chevrolet, Chrysler, Acura, Lexus, Ford, VW, Opel, and Audi vehicles, kept coming back to GTI when I could.

  • avatar

    I have brand loyalty for some products because I’ve used them, and found they work best for me. These include Nike running shoes, Ecco shoes, and G&L electric basses and guitars.

    For cars, I don’t have blind loyalty to any brand and I’ve owned Honda, Acura, GM, VW, SAAB, Mazda, and Ford. But if Honda/Acura makes something that ticks the right boxes, I’ll go that route. My 2010 TSX has been, by far, the best car I’ve ever owned. I don’t love it quite as much as I did my beastly old SAAB 9-5 Aero, but the Acura is better in many ways, especially reliability, which has led me to appreciate it more over time. Our Mazda was fantastic too, so they’re always on the radar, but they need to get a handle on road noise — and bring back some Mazdaspeed models already!

    Thankfully Honda seems to be enjoying a renaissance, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Civic Si sedan in the garage in a couple of years.

  • avatar

    We are Subaru people. AWD on all vehicles, a reputation for safety, reliability and the fact that nearly all Subarus cost between $20-$30K (what Americans can realistically afford) keep us coming back.

    This being rural Pennsylvania, most yokels up here are either Ford People or Chevy People. My parents-in-law will never buy anything other than a Chevrolet. They tell me every Chevrolet they owned “never broke down.” Of course, one of the Chevys they owned was a Prizm. As my mother-in-law keeps telling me, and I mock her constantly, “They’re good cars!” In her defense, their Malibu is a good car. Their Cavalier, not so much.

  • avatar

    Once you go BMW/Mercedes, it is very hard to like anything else. I keep test driving other cars but nothing measures up… However, I am not sure what to do going forward, since manuals and good steering feel seems to be a thing of the past with the Germans beyond E90/E60/W204/R171. Hopefully, by the time I am forced to switch, they will have good EVs, so I don’t have to drive an automatic and be frustrated with it every time I drive.

  • avatar

    If the vehicle meets my criteria it is in-brand is nothing. That said, some brands do more consistently meet my criteria, but they must come up to the bar I set every time.

    On the other side is my brother-in-law who’s only buying decision seems to be what color his next Silverado will be. I think he is genuinely bewildered that it is otherwise for me.


  • avatar

    I grew up with Mopars and the Buffalo Bills. After years of living all over, and owning several different brands, I have been unable to get either of these out of my blood.

    Pray for me.

  • avatar

    GM for sure! A quirk here and there like any other manufacturer, but they run forever. Been associated with two Toyotas from the ex and the current, and I don’t get all this quality BS. ’93 Celica had brake and suspension issues, ’09 Corolla had multi recalls and electrical issues and to top it all off they were plain as vanilla, but I guess that is what most non car enthusiasts like. BUT GM is killing off anything budget performance related with 4 doors and succumbed to the crossover craze. WRXs and Golf Rs have caught my eye now.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • 28-Cars-Later: @jkross Well, truth is treason in the empire of lies so I’d expect the language of the...
  • 28-Cars-Later: If The Science™ is actual science, then all of this will fall away everywhere as its supposedly...
  • SCE to AUX: In the US, such events only produce a temporary spike in behavior. It would take years of sustained and...
  • ToolGuy: I didn’t want to post this, but it’s my responsibility to do so:
  • jkross22: “F*** the children.” Now there’s a slogan we can all get behind! Weirdly, if you believe...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber