The winners of the sixth annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards were announced Jan. 6 at the 2002 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS 2002), with General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. retaining their status as the manufacturers with the highest Overall Manufacturer Loyalty and Overall Make Loyalty, respectively. The Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards recognize manufacturers for superior owner loyalty performance. Loyalty is determined when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same model or make. Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division captured its sixth consecutive award within the Overall Make Loyalty Award category. General Motors won in the Overall Manufacturer Loyalty category for the second straight year. Other automotive makes capturing a Polk Automotive Loyalty Award for the 2001 model year were: Subaru (2), DaimlerChrysler (1), Porsche (1) and Lexus (1). "The Polk Loyalty Award recognizes automotive manufacturers that retain their customers most successfully over the course of a model year," said Stephen R. Polk, chairman, president and CEO of R. L. Polk & Co. "Repeat customers are the foundation of success in any marketplace, especially the highly competitive automotive industry. Loyalty measures how effective automotive OEMs are at ensuring that their customers come back." Research by R. L. Polk & Co. showed that Overall Industry Manufacturer, Make and Model loyalty rates remained stable during the 2001 model year, each with less than a half of a percentage point change from the 2000 model year. Specifically, more than half (53.8 percent) of the households returning to market during the 2001 model year acquired a vehicle from the same manufacturer, two in five (43.0 percent) acquired the same make, and nearly one in five (19.6 percent) acquired the same model. POLK AUTOMOTIVE LOYALTY AWARD WINNERS


Overall Awards:

Manufacturer Loyalty

General Motors 65.2%

Category Average 53.8%

Make Loyalty

Ford 56.7%

Category Average 43.0%

Vehicle Segment Awards:

Small Car

Ford Focus 20.7%

Category Average 14.2%

Midsize Car

Subaru Legacy 33.2%

Category Average 18.7%

Large Car

Buick LeSabre 41.8%

Category Average 26.8%

Luxury Car

Cadillac DeVille 42.3%

Category Average 20.1%

Prestige Luxury Car

Lexus LS 430 35.6%

Category Average 22.1%

Sports Car

Porsche 911 23.2%

Category Average 11.7%


Chrysler Town & Country 31.0%

Category Average 16.1%

Compact Pickup Truck

Ford Ranger 19.6%

Category Average 15.5%

Full-Size Pickup Truck

Ford F-Series 36.5%

Category Average 32.4%

Compact SUV

Subaru Forester 20.2%

Category Average 13.4%

Midsize SUV

Mercury Mountaineer 28.6%

Category Average 20.7%

Full-Size SUV

Chevrolet Suburban 28.4%

Category Average 19.2%

General Motors outperformed the industry average by more than 11 percentage points, with nearly two-thirds of its owners that returned to market during the 2001 model year repurchasing another GM vehicle. Not only did GM outperform the industry, its Manufacturer Loyalty Rate was up slightly over the 2000 model year. "Expanded incentive offerings by GM, including special rebates and an early turn-in lease program during the 2001 model year, helped increase GM's manufacturer loyalty rate," said Melissa Mullen, manager & industry consultant of loyalty for R. L. Polk & Co. In terms of vehicle segment Loyalty Awards, there were seven repeat winners out of the 12 categories. While domestic manufacturers have traditionally dominated the Loyalty Award categories, this year import manufacturers captured four of the 12 segment level awards. In addition, for the first time in the history of the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, an import manufacturer captured more than one award during the same model year. Subaru won in two categories: the Forester, a repeat winner in the Compact Sport Utility Vehicle category; and the Legacy, winner of the Mid-Size Car segment award. Polk Manufacturer Loyalty Excelerator™ Report Polk's says its Manufacturer Loyalty Excelerator™ report, which is the basis for the Polk Automotive Loyalty rankings and annual awards, is the latest insight into consumer loyalty. This report was introduced to the automotive industry in 1995 and was created to provide household loyalty information to manufacturers at many different levels. It is now used to provide loyalty percentages for the entire automotive industry and allows for cross-industry comparisons of loyalty behavior. The report measures loyalty throughout the entire model year so that manufacturers may keep abreast of loyalty trends as they occur in the industry. About R. L. Polk & Co. Polk has served the automotive industry for nearly 80 years and says it is the longest standing curator of automobile records in the United States. Founded in Detroit in 1870, Polk launched its motor vehicle statistical operations in 1922 when the first car registration reports were published. The company now provides automotive solutions to nearly every segment of the motor vehicle industry as an analytical consultant and statistician, as a provider of database-marketing services, and as a supplier of vehicle histories. Based in Southfield, Mich., Polk is a privately held global firm, currently operating in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information on the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, including highlights from the Jan. 6 awards ceremony, visit on the Internet.