Polk Honors Brand Loyalty Winners
The 17th annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards were doled out earlier this week in Detroit and earning top honors once again was Ford, which has earned this distinction for three straight years.
Ford was honored with awards for Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer and Overall Loyalty to Make. The Ford F-Series also won in the mid/full-size pickup category for the 15th time. The awards were presented Tuesday evening at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.
A Polk analysis attributed Ford’s owner loyalty success this year to its shorter product refresh cycles, a customer-focused lease-end process and the company’s competitive product lineup across most vehicle segments.
“We are honored that our customers continue to choose Ford and Lincoln products. Each day, we and our dealers strive to earn their loyalty by providing exceptional sales experiences and a great consumer value proposition driven by high fuel economy, smart technology and safety,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of marketing, sales and service.
Additional highlights from the awards program included Volkswagen being honored for the first time in the Most Improved Loyalty to Make category. Officials said this win is based largely on VW’s emphasis on customer engagement spanning the length of ownership, as well as the carmaker’s aggressive vehicle pricing strategy in the U.S. market without compromising its product offering.
“Volkswagen has made headlines with historic sales growth in the U.S. market and it begins with the company’s commitment to the consumer,” said Robert Martell, vice president of customer experience at Volkswagen of America, who was on hand to accept the award. “Polk’s Automotive Loyalty Award recognizes our commitment to an industry-leading consumer experience that turns first-time Volkswagen owners into lifelong Volkswagen enthusiasts.”
Honda was honored in the Compact Car segment for Civic, a first time winner in the category, and won the compact SUV category for CR-V.
“As manufacturers work to retain customers in this incredibly competitive market, we’re seeing increased activity surrounding customer engagement, which is beginning to resonate with consumers,” said Brad Smith, director of Polk’s loyalty management practice.
“Our automotive OEM and agency customers are developing new loyalty programs within their organizations, and as a result we’re seeing increases in repurchase loyalty,” Smith continued.
Ford also was a repeat winner in the African-American Market Loyalty to Make category, sweeping the segment since 2010. Honda and Toyota rounded out the ethnic loyalty honors with respective wins in the Hispanic Market Loyalty to Make and Asian Market Loyalty to Make categories.
With ethnic buyers representing 19 percent of all owners returning to buy again in 2012, according to Polk’s analysis, the manufacturers that succeed in building loyalty among this audience will strengthen brand position as the number of multi-cultural consumers continue to increase their buying power and influence in the automotive marketplace.
The Chrysler Town & Country won its 12th consecutive Polk Automotive Loyalty Award in the minivan category, while the Ford Mustang came back to win the Sports Car segment after losing out to Dodge the past two years.