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Buyers Most Influenced by Quality, Fuel Economy

Brand loyalty remains strong, but varies significantly with age.

by on May.26, 2010

Time for less loaded, less expensive cars?

If the latest survey from Consumer Reports is accurate, 73% of car buyers said they were “somewhat” or “very likely” to purchase the same make they currently drive the next time they shop for a new car.

However, if they were to change brands, most respondents said that higher quality, better fuel economy, and a lower price are the three biggest factors that would influence their decision. There seems to be a return to pragmatism in people’s minds.

“A buyer’s attachment to a brand, for example, can vary significantly by gender and age,” said Jeff Bartlett, Deputy Editor Online, Consumer Reports Cars. “Possible reasons younger drivers could be influenced more readily include changing lifestyles, less experience with a given brand, greater peer influence, and being more trend-conscious.”

Women are notably more likely to be brand loyal than men, with 54% compared to 43% claiming they are “very likely” to purchase another car of the same make as they currently own. The same applies for older drivers. Among drivers 35 and older, at least 50% plan to stay with the brand they already own. Only 41% of drivers aged 18 to 34 years old felt the same. CR also found that household income does not play a role in car brand loyalty. Affluent consumers and those of modest means were nearly equal in their attachment to a brand.

Why buyers switch

When presented with 13 potential factors to entice owners to change their brand allegiance, the top choices were clearly higher quality and better fuel economy, as shown in the following list.

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