Study: Chevrolet Customers Are Keepers, Isuzu Buyers Least Loyal

By Agence France-Presse When it comes to winning over customers and keeping them, General Motors Corp.'s Chevy brand leads the pack, but Toyota is nipping at its heels, according to a new survey. About half of all vehicleowners will buy the same brand when they are shopping around for a new set of wheels, but Chevrolet owners are the most loyal, according to a customer retention survey by the auto analysis firm J.D. Power and Associates. The brand had a 60% retention rate -- that is, 60% bought a second Chevy brand vehicle, according to the survey of more than 104,000 consumers. Toyota Motor Corp.'s own brand came in second with a 59.3% retention rate, followed by Mercedes-Benz (58.7%), Ford's own-brand (58.1%) and Honda (57.1%). "Customer retention is critical to manufacturers, not just because the cost of keeping a customer is generally lower than gaining a new one, but it's also a test of whether the brand has staying power," said J.D. Power analyst Joe Ivers. Customers who leave brands tend to do so because of poor experience with their current car or because of effective marketing by their new suitor, Ivers said. Nearly two-thirds purchase a model from a different brand because the new vehicle meets their practical needs, while 50% move to another brand because of better quality reputation or styling. Bottoming out the survey was Isuzu Motors, retaining a mere 3.5% of its buyers from one purchase to the next. Isuzu offers just three vehicles, all of them SUVs. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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