J.D. Power Releases Brand Loyalty Study for 2019, Subaru Takes Top Honors

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
j d power releases brand loyalty study for 2019 subaru takes top honors

J.D. Power’s annual Automotive Brand Loyalty Study came out for 2019 this week. According to the outlet, Subaru outranks every other brand when it comes to consumer loyalty. That meshes with any anecdotal evidence I’ve accumulated by just speaking with people. Despite some nagging quality concerns stemming from the company’s swift sales growth, most people I know that have driven a Subaru still want one.

Subaru also has been running some of the best advertisements within the industry with the broadest possible appeal ( as they often feature dogs) over the last few years. Almost every woman I’ve spoken with feels positively about the brand and, while I can’t say the same about the men, it’s not a nameplate that receives much ire with laypersons — minus the odd tale of a tragic timing chain mishap (I told you to take it in, Sean).

The J.D. Power study says Subaru ranks highest among mass-market brands and highest among all automakers with a loyalty rate of 61.5 percent. Toyota is in second with a 59.5 percent rating, while Honda comes in third with 57.7 percent. Ford and Ram, were the only other two mainstream brands that managed to stay above 50 percent.

However, you probably want to know which marques have settled at the bottom of the bowl. Mitsubishi, Buick, and Mini were all hovering around 30 percent. Digging a little deeper through the muck, we uncovered Dodge, Fiat, Chrysler and Smart. None of those brands broke the 17 percent loyalty barrier. Odd, considering FCA’s domestic nameplates have been getting more favorable reliability and quality rankings from outlets like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power of late. Dodge also has a pretty slick marketing team and, you know, Mopar fans — unfairly maligned by other auto communities for their deep-seated passion (don’t worry, brothers, the heretics will pay for their crimes against us). Though we suppose true advocates likely don’t factor in much when considering broader loyalty inclinations. It’s not like the general industry trend has had much to do with courting enthusiasts lately, anyway.

For luxury brands, J.D. Power placed Lexus at the top with 47 percent — followed by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, and Audi. Land Rover was up next but the entire field was middling. No brand stood out as performing terribly well or poorly in terms of customer loyalty, with Jaguar being the only exception. It had a loyalty rate of 20 percent, when every other company managed 32 or better.

If you want to call J.D. Power out, which you are welcome to do, note that it states that the study’s findings are based on the percentage of vehicle owners who choose the same brand when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle using data from its own “Power Information Network.” As it relies heavily on trade-ins, brands that are more-likely to have been sold privately likely performed worse than those that aren’t. The 2019 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study calculations are based on transaction data from June 2018 through May 2019 and include all model years traded in.

[Images: Subaru; J.D. Power]

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  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Jul 19, 2019

    I'd like to know how Tesla stacks up. Perhaps it's part of the 'conspiracy' against them. The other automakers let "others" do their dirty work--ie, state auto dealership laws--to make it very hard to buy or lease a Tesla. Perhaps Tesla doesn't play by JDP's rules. How does JDP work? Who funds them? How? How robust is their data? Is it like Consumer Reports? Better? Worse? Perhaps TTAC's diligent staff will answer these questions. And, for the record, I'm not keen on electric cars. But, anecdotally, Teslas are selling in credible volumes and people seem to love them. I've never seen an Tesla ad in Car and Driver, which is perhaps why Tesla doesn't really get much coverage, compared to other carmakers (who buy ads). Just saying.

  • JGlanton JGlanton on Jul 19, 2019

    I bought another Subaru after 12 good years from my Forester. Now three women close to me all want Subarus for their next car after time spent in mine. They're just likeable cars. Except the new Nav system. Simply horrible. Its just there to frustrate me. You can't zoom out when navigating, say, to see what towns are coming up on the route. The voice interface is horrible. When it does understand me, I can't name places (like a park or airport or restaurant), I have to tell it the exact street address, which I rarely know without consulting Google maps, so, I just use Google maps to navigate instead of the Subaru system. I have a 12-year old nav system in my other car that is 10X better than Subaru's current system. Don't pay for it. Just use Android Auto or Apple to navigate.

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.