According to R. L. Polk & Co.'s mid-year Polk Automotive Loyalty Award rankings, General Motors Corp. (GM) remains the leader in overall manufacturer loyalty through the first half of the 2002 model year (October 2001 - March 2002), while Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division retains its lead in the overall make category.
Eleven of the 14 mid-year leaders won in their respective categories for the 2001 model year. However, new leaders have emerged in three categories.
Threatening two-time winner Subaru Forester, the Honda CRV emerged as mid-year leader in the compact SUV segment, 11 percentage points higher than the overall category average.
The Buick Century, winner in the mid-size car segment from 1998 through 2000 model years, recaptured its lead. So far, the Century's loyalty rate is 10 percentage points higher than the segment average.
The Cadillac Escalade leads the full-size SUV segment with a seven percent lead over the second ranked Chevrolet Suburban, the winner of the Polk Automotive Loyalty Award in this segment for the past two model years.
In 2001, the mid-year leaders in the overall manufacturer and overall make categories captured the Polk Automotive Loyalty Award at the end of the model year. In contrast, just over half of the mid-year leaders in the 12 model segments in 2001 won the award when the model year ended.
"Various incentive and extended warranty programs offered by manufacturers during the last half of 2002 will play a key role in determining the final winners of the 2002 Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards to be presented in January," said Melissa Mullen, manager and industry consultant of loyalty at R. L. Polk & Co.
"Building a strong base of loyal customers is a core foundation for success in the automotive industry. The ability to continually measure and monitor customer loyalty provides automotive manufacturers with a powerful means for gaining a strong competitive advantage," Mullen said.
For a complete listing of the Mid-Year 2002 Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, visit www.polk.com/news/releases/2002_0812.asp
About the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards
The Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, presented annually at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, recognize manufacturers for superior owner loyalty performance during each model year. 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, make or manufacturer.
Polk's Automotive Loyalty Awards are determined by Polk's Manufacturer Loyalty Excelerator study, which provides the latest insight into consumer loyalty. This study was introduced to the automotive industry in 1995 and was created to provide household loyalty information to manufacturers at many different levels. It is used to provide loyalty percentages for the entire automotive industry, to allow for cross-industry comparisons of loyalty behavior and to examine loyalty at various levels (e.g. from the industry level down to the vehicle line level). The study measures loyalty throughout the entire model year so that manufacturers can keep abreast of loyalty trends.
About R. L. Polk & Co.
Polk has served the automotive industry for 80 years and 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, China, France, Germany, Holland, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.