Brand Loyalty


#1

Check this out for recent figures for the most brand-loyal car purchases:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2011/10/13/cars-with-the-most-brand-loyal-buyers/

I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

I was a Mopar man until I bought a Volare (engine & front suspension).
I was a Ford man until I bought a Tempo (fuel pump and transmission).
I was a Toyota man until I bought a Camry (head gasket).
I was a Chevy man until I bought a Camaro (differential).
I’m now a Honda man (even though a Civic torque converter failed at 48K, Honda paid even though out of warranty).


#2

No I did NOT see that coming…at all. KIA/Hyundai were the low-budget only choice not too long ago, and it is notable that folks stay with a fairly low-status marquee as their fortunes presumably improve with age. That makes me want to see what the fuss is about.


#3

I figured there would be more trucks in there, or possibly trucks weren’t included in the list. Truck owners tend to be pretty loyal to a particular brand.

I’m a Ford guy though. I’ve had a 1974 Ford F-100, a 1992 Ford T-Bird SC, a 1995 Ford Bronco, a 1997 F-150, and a 2003 Mustang GT. The Mustang GT might get replaced with a 2015 or 2016 Mustang GT depending on how many teething problems the new model has.


#4

Back in the 1960s, a Chevrolet salesman told me that he could sell Chevrolets even if they were made from orange crates. Tom McCahill made the comment in his book “What You Should Know About Cars” published in the early 1960s that brand loyalty kept manufacturers in business even if one model year was really poor. He said that it takes quite a lemon year to make many people switch brands. I don’t think this is true today.
I don’t care what brand name is on the vehicle I drive. I buy the vehicle that fits my needs at the best price.


#5

I would agree that trucks are not included.


#6

The high school kids here in the San Jose, Calif did a survey of the cars parked in the high school parking lot. Student cars are probably not representative of the whole car population in the area, tending more to the less expensive econoboxes probably, but they survey came out something like this

  • Toyota – 45 %
  • Honda – 35 %
  • Nissan – 7 %

All other makes were less than 7 %.


#7

I have this theory avec Kia and Hyundai doing so well and wonder if price and trade in values has something to do with it. I have a friend who is debating about trading his Hyundia in for a Toyota which he prefers. The only problem is, only Hyundai will give him the best price difference on another Hyundai vs a Toyota or Honda , each of which would will cost him a bunch. Had he bit the bullet and bought the Camry initially, a new one would be just as cheap for him given the much better trade in value. IMHO, the loyalty stems as much from being stuck in a low price rut as anything. How it figures into Fords and others ? Don’t have a clew. This theory is just a work in progress.


#8
Tom McCahill made the comment in his book "What You Should Know About Cars" published in the early 1960s that brand loyalty kept manufacturers in business even if one model year was really poor. He said that it takes quite a lemon year to make many people switch brands. I don't think this is true today.

There’s a lot more competition today.

When I was growing up…you either bought GM, Ford, AMC, or Chryco. Yes there some other choices…but they were very very limited. The closes VW dealer to us in 1970 was almost 50 miles away. Today the average buyer has at least 10 different manufacturers to choose from.

I was a very loyal Chevy brand buyer. But after getting Burned too many times…I just couldn’t afford it anymore.

But even today I’m not brand loyal. There are several brands I’ll buy (Toyota, Honda and even Nissan).


#9

The Big-3 were very successful in marketing their automobiles as status symbols. And there was great loyalty between brands even though the only difference between a Ford and a Mercury was usually superficial. Likewise Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler and Chevrolet, Pontiac, Olds, Buick, Cadillac.


#10

Surprised not to see Nissan on the list. My first two cars were both Nissan, and most recently I went to Toyota (still staying with a Japanese manufacturer).

But Toyota taking the V6 out of the Rav4 the same year they started giving it SatNav completely killed my loyalty to Toyota. By now I’ve found there are no suitable replacements for the Rav4 that go just as fast and aren’t a luxury SUV, so my next car will either be a sports car or sedan. If I go with a sedan, I’ll probably go back to Nissan, but for a sports car I’m looking at lots of non-japanese manufacturers.


#11

I’m not a brand specific kind of person because there are no “perfect” vehicles. There are some brands that I prefer and others that I would not own at all. Speaking of Nissan all the Nissan’s that I’ve owned have been just as reliable as Toyota or Honda.


#12

My FIL has owned a Hyundai and two Kias with the latest being a Forte. I was biased based on the history but soon discovered they had vastly improved in not only reliability but I think Kia has some of the best styling out there today in their segments. The build quality of the cars he has owned has been very good to exceptional IMO and my long standing views have been changed. He’s definitely a returning customer and I will seriously consider them when the time comes.


#13

“There’s a lot more competition today.
When I was growing up…you either bought GM, Ford, AMC, or Chryco”.

“And there was great loyalty between brands even though the only difference between a Ford and a Mercury was usually superficial. Likewise Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler and Chevrolet, Pontiac, Olds, Buick, Cadillac”.

@MikeInNH and @Rod Knox

From the 1930s through the mid 1960s there was a considerable difference between the Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac brands from General Motors and even a difference between the Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks.

1949 is a good place to start. Chevrolet had a splash lubricated overhead valve engine, Pontiac offered a side valve inline 6 and a side valve inline 8. Oldsmobile had a side valve inline 6 and an overhead valve V-8. Buick had a inline overhead valve 8. Cadillac just introduced an overhead valve V-8 which replaced a flathead V-8 that was the engine used through 1948. All of these engines were different. I had a 1947 Pontiac with the 6 cylinder engine. I found that the engine block was cracked. A wrecking yard had a good 6 cylinder 1948 Oldsmobile engine. The displacement was about the same, but the engines would not interchange and I wound up “fixing” my Pontiac engine with K & W seal.
The suspensions and drivetrains were different in 1949. Chevrolet had rear leaf springs and an enclosed driveshaft. Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Cadillac used an open driveshaft. The Pontiac and Cadillac had leaf springs in back but the Oldsmobile had coil springs. The Buick had an enclosed driveshaft and had coil springs in the back. The automatic transmission offered by Buick depended completely on a torque converter–there was not shift when one started in “Drive”. The Hydramatic automatic transmission available in the Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Cadillac had a fluid coupling that did not multiply the torque and had four forward speeds in the drive range. As each division developed an overhead valve V-8, these engines were all different. The Buick V-8 which became available in 1953 was completely different than the Oldsmobile V-8 engine and both these V-8 engines were different than the Cadillac V-8. In 1955, Chevrolet and Pontiac each brought out a new V-8 engine and these engines were completely different. The 1955 Chevrolet pickup with the V-8 had a Chevrolet engine, but the GMC pickup V-8 came with the Pontiac V-8 engine. In the early 1960s, the 6 cylinder Chevrolet pickup had an inline engine while the 6 cylinder GMC pickup had a V-6 engine.
The point is that car offered by each division of General Motors was different and certainly drove differently. My family tested a new 1959 Buick and a new 1959 Oldsmobile. I drove both cars and they drove completely differently. In 1961, the Corvair, the Pontiac Tempest, the Oldsmobile F-85 and the Buick Special compacts were different from each other even though they used the same chassis. The Corvair was a rear engine car, the Pontiac Tempest had the engine in the front, but the transmission was combined with the rear axle and used a 4 cylinder engine. The Oldsmobile F-85 and Buick were more conventional and had an aluminum V-8, but Buick also offered a cast iron V-6.
My point is that there was competition between the divisions and the differences were more than superficial. IMHO, the competition among the divisions of GM and the competition made for a better product. When GM got in trouble for sneaking a Chevrolet V-8 into some of the Oldsmobiles in 1977 was the beginning of the lack of competition among the divisions ultimately resulting in a decline in quality and the dropping of the Pontiac and Oldsmobile divisions.

I could point out the differences in the Chrysler nameplates in this time period. Let me just say that my Dad owned a 1947 Dodge and a 1947 Desoto and there was quite a difference in these cars. We old geezers remember when the nameplate really made a difference.


#14
From the 1930s through the mid 1960s there was a considerable difference between the Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac brands from General Motors and even a difference between the Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks.

Yes I know that…but I wasn’t buying cars in the 30’s or 60’s…hence - that’s why I didn’t mention it.


#15

do you often lapse into French @dagosa


#16

@‌MikeInNH–
You missed a great period in buying and driving automobiles (it’s too bad you are not a geezer). Let’s hope that if electric cars come along for future generations, the number of poles in the electric motor will make a difference.


#17

From the gallery:

Ford Fiesta Though new for 2011, 63 percent of all subcompact Ford Fiestas were purchased by brand-loyal Ford owners in recent months. Since there was no previous-sized entry in the company's lineup prior to the Fiesta, we can assume all repeat buyers are downsizing from larger Ford models.

Why would the author claim previous generations of the Fiesta didn’t exist?


#18

Kia and Hyundai have learned well from the Japanese, Europeans and the Americans. Enter the market with very cheap cars with some questionable reliability, Improve your reliability while giving a long warranty. Treat your customers well. Build a plant on the continent of your sales. Hire experienced engineering and marketing staff on that same continent to customize the product. Hire a world class stylist to improve your cars’ looks. And lastly, create an upmarket product, the Hyundai Genesis (a $60,000 luxury car) to improve profitability. GM learned it and squandered it. Honda learned it and lost it. Ford learned it, lost it, and learned it again!


#19

It is interesting that a Glenn’s or Motor manual of the 50’s or 60’s is about the size of a single vehicle FSM of the 90’s or a single volume of an 00’s, would cover every production vehicle in the US for a 10 year period despite the variety.


#20

Brand loyalty can also be driven (pardon the pun) by additional considerations. Prime example, I always preferred an Oldsmobile and later settled for a Chevy when Olds disappeared partially based on the the proportional set up of pedals to seat, placement of mirrors, and how the controls and instrumentation on dash and steering wheel were laid out and how comfortable the seats were for me compared to other car makes. I traded in the Chevy for a Toyota last month when that lifelong loyalty and comfort preference no longer outweighed the excessive repairs endlessly needed on the GM products.