COVID-19 Update: J.D. Power Announced the Most Loyal Brands

By Desiree Homer

And It Reminds Dealers to Also Be Leveraging Internal Loyalty Programs

Every year, J.D. Power & Associates names which auto brands are the most loyal, based on the feedback from actual car buying customers. Vice president of data and analytics with J.D. Power, Tyson Jominy, shared in an interview that brand loyalty, in general, is increasing these days. He points out that automakers have seriously invested efforts to maintain their customer loyalty, especially during the pandemic. And it serves as a reminder that dealers, too, should be prioritizing loyalty efforts at the local level.

The Winners of the Brand Loyalty Study

Based on the buying trends of actual consumers, J.D. Power compiled the top brands within the industry that enjoy the most loyalty. Subaru topped out the mass-market roster of brands, while Lexus got the head nod within the luxury brand segment. Toyota held its own with a customer retention rate of 60.3%, just shy of Subaru’s 60.5% retention rates. Rounding out the top five brands was Honda with 58.7%, Ram with 57.3%, and Ford at 54.3%.

Franchise Dealers Representing These Brands Have a Selling Point

If any of the dealerships within your groups represent these brand loyalty winners, you now have a great selling point to promote. It also presents an opportunity to hit the database and start reaching out to past customers who already bought from your store. Studies like these can help dealers cater their marketing efforts towards specific audiences and develop strategies accordingly. It’s also a foundation for improving your in-house loyalty programs.

Loyalty Programs Still Matter

During the economic shutdowns, dealers learned quickly that customer loyalty carried significant weight. Others may have been caught off guard, having not spent much time with any in-house loyalty programs. As we look ahead to the unknown of the coming months, and continued effects of the pandemic, spending a little extra time with improving those programs can be beneficial. Using positive reviews online and leveraging customer testimonials can be the base from which you launch loyalty discounts and rewards platforms. Continue to offer car detailing and sanitizing services. Use social media to demonstrate what perks your loyal customers enjoy. Consider partnering with other businesses within your city to build a more comprehensive menu of loyalty rewards. Take advantage of any bursts of revenue you may be experiencing now and build so you can drive dealership loyalty in the months to come.

The coming months present serious uncertainty, and Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Analyst for Cox Automotive, warns, the industry could slide back. Smoke offers invaluable insights to support his predictions and advises dealers to prepare for a potential return to regression. Part of that preparation playbook might include a robust loyalty program at the local dealership level, too. J.D. Power has offered its brand roster of the most loyal badges. And it reminds us that while automakers are investing efforts in building loyalty, there are opportunities to do the same in a more granular way and in the local markets.