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Hyundai tops J D Power brand loyalty survey

Hyundai has topped the latest J.D. Power survey for customer retention, with almost two thirds of the South Korean brand’s US buyers heading back to the dealership for their next car.

The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Customer Retention Study – one of the largest measures of automotive brand loyalty in the world – found that Hyundai was the clear leader with a 64 per cent retention rate. The report says the company’s customer loyalty in the US is primarily driven by the Elantra and Sonata (i45 in Australia) models.

Ford and Honda tied for second place with 60 per cent customer retention, with BMW and Kia (both 59 per cent) rounding out the top five.

Jeep was the biggest improver, jumping up 17 percentage points to 51 per cent in the 2012 study.

Unsurprisingly, the now-bankrupt Saab was the lowest ranked brand, with just seven per cent of owners heading back into the Swedish marque’s showrooms. Suzuki (20 per cent), Dodge (21 per cent), Toyota offshoot Scion (24 per cent), and Chrysler (26 per cent) all failed to attract the vast majority of owners back into one of their new vehicles.

According to the survey, one third of new-vehicle buyers switched brands because their previous car maker didn’t offer the type of vehicle they wanted. Other reasons for poor retention rates included high maintenance costs, problems with the previous vehicle, and poor resale value.

J.D. Power and Associates director of automotive product research Raffi Festekjian said car makers needed to do more than expand their model range to retain old customers and attract new ones.

“Manufacturers also need to ensure owners are satisfied with the quality, residual values and ownership costs of their vehicles.

“Hyundai’s increased retention rate is shaped by its expanding model line-up, as well as the fact that perceptions of the brand’s quality and appeal have continued to improve during the past decade,” Festekjian said.

The 2012 Customer Retention Study was based on the responses of 117,000 new-vehicle buyers and lessees.