Ford Earns Top Marks In Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards; Volkswagen Named Most Improved

Ford Earns Top Marks In Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards; Volkswagen Named Most

17th annual event honors manufacturers for consumer loyalty in 2012

PR Newswire

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Jan. 15, 2013

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Co. earned top
honors for the third consecutive year during the 17^th annual Polk Automotive
Loyalty Awards presented this evening at the Automotive News World Congress in
Detroit. 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 15^th time.

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A Polk analysis attributes 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,
vice president of Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford Motor Company.

Additional highlights from tonight's awards program included Volkswagen being
honored for the first time in the Most Improved Loyalty to Make category.
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. 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."

Ford 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 12^th 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.

The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class made its debut on the list of Polk Automotive
Loyalty Award winners for the Luxury Sports Car category. The Luxury SUV
segment has been dominated by Land Rover Range Rover since the segment's
inception in 2008, and was a winner again this year. In the Luxury Car
segment, the Lincoln MKZ won its second award, the Lexus RX was honored for
the fourth time in the Mid-/Full-size SUV category, and the Subaru Outback won
the Mid-/Full-size Car award for the second year in a row.

Polk's Automotive Loyalty Awards are presented annually to OEMs that
demonstrate a manufacturer's ability to retain owners over repeat buying

"Our program is unique in the industry as it recognizes an OEM's success in
its approach to customer loyalty, which is becoming more important as the
dynamics of the consumer base are changing," said Smith. "OEMs are
increasingly measuring store-level results as well, working with their dealers
to use the metrics to improve their retail networks. They're starting to see
tremendous value and business results from their loyalty programs."

Polk analysts have found the length of time an individual owns a vehicle may
have an adverse impact on consumer loyalty, which tends to peak after three
years of ownership and decline after the fourth year. Additionally, new
vehicle launches from competing brands have an impact on loyalty. Polk
analysts anticipate more than 100 new vehicle launches and major refreshes in
2013, likely leading many consumers to defect from their current brands. The
behavior reflects a population of owners who choose to hold their vehicles
longer for various reasons.

Polk's analysis found overall owner brand loyalty for 2012 was 48.04 percent,
up nearly one percentage point from 2011.

How Polk Measures Loyalty
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.
Polk tracks owner loyalty throughout the year and regularly works with its
customers to effectively manage owner loyalty through in-depth analysis of
automotive shopping behaviors, related market influencers and development of
retention strategies. This year's awards are based on an analysis of more
than 5.9 million new vehicle owners who bought new vehicles again during the
2012 model year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012.

A complete list of those honored during the program is as follows:

Overall Awards                     Winner                   Loyalty Percentage
Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer    Ford Motor Company*      62.2%
Overall Loyalty to Make            Ford*                    61.2%
Most Improved Loyalty to Make      Volkswagen               +5.9 percentage
Hispanic Market Loyalty to Make    Honda*                   55.9%
Asian Market Loyalty to Make       Toyota*                  51.9%
African American Market Loyalty to Ford*                    60.0%
Vehicle Category Awards            Winner                   Loyalty Percentage
Compact Car                        Honda Civic              27.0%
Mid-/Full-size Car                 Subaru Outback           32.9%
Luxury Car                         Lincoln MKZ              49.5%
Sports Car                         Ford Mustang             18.1%
Luxury Sports Car                  Mercedes-Benz SL-Class   24.9%
Minivan                            Chrysler Town & Country* 31.2%
Mid-/Full-size Pickup              Ford F-Series*           38.8%
Compact SUV                        Honda CR-V               34.7%
Mid-/Full-size SUV                 Lexus RX*                40.1%
Luxury SUV                         Land Rover Range Rover*  37.4%

*Winner from previous model year award 

About Polk's Loyalty Management Practice
Polk's Loyalty Management Practice aids manufacturers and retailers in
effectively managing owner loyalty through the in-depth analysis of automotive
shopping behaviors and related market influencers. Polk's analyses cover the
entire U.S. market, and can identify likely defectors, before they leave,
providing the opportunity to re-win their business prior to defection actually
taking place. The practice is solely focused on helping manufacturers and
dealers in retaining their owners through Polk's diagnostic, predictive and
advisory services.

Polk's solutions identify the key areas and potential causal factors
influencing owner loyalty and are applied in the sales, service, finance and
marketing functions within the automotive industry.

For a historical overview of Polk Automotive Loyalty Award winners, please

About Polk
Polk is the premier provider of automotive information and marketing
solutions. The organization collects and interprets global data, and provides
extensive automotive business expertise to help customers understand their
market position, identify trends, build brand loyalty, conquest new business
and gain a competitive advantage. Polk helps automotive manufacturers and
dealers, automotive aftermarket companies, finance and insurance companies,
advertising agencies, media companies, consulting organizations, government
agencies and market research firms make good business decisions. A privately
held global firm, Polk is based in Southfield, Michigan, with operations in
Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain,
the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, please visit


Contact: Michelle Culver, Lambert, Edwards & Associates, +1-313-309-9500, ext.
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