Retaining the loyalty of customers is something that is very important to automakers, but which brands are more successful at doing so? To find out, J.D. Power analysed transaction data on vehicles sold in the United States from June 2019 through May 2019, including all model years traded in, to bring us an answer.

The company has since released its 2020 US Automotive Brand Loyalty Study, which is now in its second year, and uses data obtained from its affiliate Power Information Network to calculate whether an owner purchased the same brand after trading in an existing vehicle on a new vehicle. Customer loyalty is then determined based on the percentage of vehicle owners who chose the same brand when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle.

Among premium brands, the study revealed Lexus to have the highest loyalty rate at 48%, marking the second consecutive year the Japanese brand took the top spot. Coming in a close second is Mercedes-Benz (47.8%), followed by BMW (45.1%), Porsche (44.9%) and Audi (43.4%).

Below them, brands that didn’t breach the 40% mark include Land Rover (39.6%), Acura and Volvo (both 38.3%), Lincoln (37%), Cadillac (33.8%), Maserati (28.7%), Infiniti (27.7%) and Jaguar (20.7%).

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Meanwhile, Subaru ranked highest among mass market brands and highest overall in the US automotive industry, also for a second year running, with a loyalty rate of 60.5%. In fact, the top three brands on the mass market list are Japanese brands, with Toyota (60.3%) in second place, while Honda (58.7%) took the third spot.

Three other mass market that exceeded the 50% mark include Kia (51.3%), Ford (54.3%) and RAM (57.3%). Further down the list, it was a close fight between Buick (27.5%), Mitsubishi (27.1%) and MINI (26.4%), with Dodge (17.8%), Chrysler (14.1%) and Fiat (10.4%) being below the 20% point.

“There are many factors that contribute to brand loyalty, ranging from the experience a customer has when purchasing the vehicle to how driving it makes them feel,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data & analytics at J.D. Power.

“Automakers are really focused on customer retention, as evidenced by the payment plans and incentives they’ve offered since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Many have gone above and beyond to offer customers financial assistance during a period of economic uncertainty, which does a lot to bolster consumer confidence in their chosen brand and repurchase it in the future,” he added.