March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., gaining ground over Japanese automakers with their most stylish sedans and small cars since the 1970s, are topping Toyota Motor Corp. in customer loyalty, researcher Experian Automotive said.
Of Ford vehicle owners who returned to buy another auto in the fourth quarter, 47.9 percent bought a Ford or Lincoln, Dublin-based Experian said today in a report. GM’s loyalty rate was 47.7 percent, followed by Toyota at 46.9 percent.
After decades of losing car buyers to Japanese automakers such as Toyota and Honda Motor Co., Ford, GM and Chrysler Group LLC are luring back customers with models such as the Fusion sedan. The Detroit automakers’ share of the U.S. small and mid-size car market will grow to 33 percent next year, from 26 percent in 2009, according to researcher LMC Automotive.
“Ford has developed extremely loyal customers across a wide range of vehicles,” Jeffrey Anderson, director of consulting and analytics for Experian Automotive, said in a statement. “Customer loyalty will always be a very important barometer of automotive sales success.”
Ford had a record eight of the top 10 individual models by loyalty, led by the Fusion, with 60 percent of that model’s owners returning to market to purchase another vehicle made by the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker.
The only non-Ford vehicles in the top 10 were Kia Motors Corp.’s Forte sedan and Detroit-based GM’s Chevrolet Sonic small car.
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