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American Buyers Increasingly Positive About Detroit Makers

Toyota slips in wake of safety scandal.

by on May.14, 2010

Ford owners are more loyal than Toyota's - some of the good news for Detroit in recent polls.

Whether it’s Washington or the economy, polls show Americans don’t feel very positive about the nation’s big institutions, lately.  But Detroit’s two largest automakers are an exception, according to a number of recent polls.

General Motors and Ford continue to gain ground on a variety of fronts, including owner loyalty.  In fact, Ford has now pushed past the long-time leader when it comes to keeping current buyers in the fold, according to the influential Consumer Reports magazine.

In all, CR found that 61% of Ford owners would buy another car, truck or crossover from the maker, an increase of 10% since the magazine’s last survey, in February.  By comparison, long-time leader Toyota’s loyalty rate has slipped a full 13 points since December, just before the maker announced the first of seven recalls so far this year.

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Ford, however, is still second in the loyalty category, just behind Honda, at 68%.

In the wake of last year’s bankruptcy, General Motors’ image took a sharp hit.  The maker has slipped a bit in the CR loyalty poll, from 57% to 49%, between December 2009 and April 2010.  But another new study suggests that public perception of the troubled GM is beginning to improve.


Are Loyal Owners Turning on Toyota?

Despite incentive-driven sales boom, many ready to walk – possibly to Ford – new research suggests.

by on Mar.17, 2010

New study suggests that long-time owners may be questioning their loyalty to Toyota. That could be good news for Ford and Chevy.

This could be one of the best months for the U.S. auto industry since the start of the recession, industry analysts report, giving a chunk of the credit to demand driven by Toyota’s hefty new incentives.

The Asian maker reports demand soared 40%, year-over-year, during the first part of the month, and doubled over dismal February.  But new research suggests that even with $3,000 givebacks and zero-interest loans, the ongoing safety scandal is tarnishing Toyota’s once-bright image and leading many owners wondering whether to walk – possibly to a brand whose star is fast ascending, Ford Motor Company.

Our latest survey showed “60% saying that Toyota’s image is worse than it was a year ago,” said George Peterson, chief analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.  That might not seem especially surprising, considering the almost daily grind of headlines blaring out news of the carmaker’s latest safety problem, but Peterson said there’s a far more troubling trend hidden within the new data.

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For one thing, the number of motorists considering a Toyota for their next vehicle has fallen from 54% to just 37%, over the last year, while at the same time, Ford’s consideration factor has soared from 38% to 67%, which Peterson labels “one of the highest (figures) we’ve ever seen.” (Peterson is a former Ford employee – editor.)