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How Toyota Strengthened Brand Loyalty During These Difficult Times

Toyota is bringing its customers closer during a frustrating time for consumers. Here are some of the ways that Toyota earned its brand loyalty during one of the toughest times in automaking history.


During the past few years, buying a new car, SUV, or truck has been extremely difficult for American consumers. Shortages of inventory, dealership closures during the pandemic, and the rapidly declining value of the American dollar have put shoppers in a very tough spot. During this mess of a market, one company seems to clearly win over the hearts, minds, and dollars of its ownership base like no other - Toyota.

In the latest 2022 J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study, Toyota’s brands have already walked away with the bulk of the trophies. The study breaks the automotive market down into five segments, premium car; premium SUV; mass market car; mass market SUV; and truck. Toyota or Lexus is number one or number two in all but one of those segments.

Here is How Toyota and Lexus Did In Each Category:
Mass Market Car Brands - Toyota ranks highest among mass market car brands with a 62.2% loyalty rate. Kia (54.1%) ranks second.

Mass Market SUV Brands - Toyota ranks highest among mass market SUV brands with a 63.6% loyalty rate. Subaru (62.6%) ranks second.

Truck Brands - Toyota (58.7%) ranks second in trucks. Ford ranks highest among truck brands with a 63.8% loyalty rate.

Premium SUV Brands - Lexus ranks second in premium SUV brands with a 56.4% loyalty rate. BMW ranks highest with a score of 58.6%.

Premium Car Brands - Porsche ranks highest among premium car brands with a 57.4% loyalty rate. Genesis (54.6%) ranks second.

The study, now in its fourth year, used data from the Power Information Network to calculate whether an owner purchased the same brand after trading in an existing vehicle. Customer loyalty was gauged based on the percentage of vehicle owners who opted for the same brand when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle. Only sales at new-vehicle franchised dealers qualify, so Tesla is not part of this study. As our Tesla fans likely know, Tesla does not participate with J.D. Power on such studies and therefore cannot always be included in the various rankings.

“The issue of tight supply chain and lower-than-normal production could have been quite disruptive to loyalty, but the highest-ranking brands excelled by staying focused on keeping owners in the brand,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data & analytics at J.D. Power. “There are multiple paths to keeping owners loyal, but every winning brand showed a commitment to launching fresh products, excellent processes focused on the vehicle owner, high residual values and offering vehicles with great appeal. And, for the most part, they’re all winning with market share.”

Our Take
Toyota’s brand loyalty has been built on three pillars; Quality, Durability, and Reliability. During the past year, Toyota may also have earned the loyalty of its past owners with two new cornerstones - Availability and Applicability. Toyota and Lexus have had large volumes of gas-saving hybrid models available for purchase during a time when gas prices spiked. For example, in 2022 year to date, Toyota has delivered approximately 124,000 RAV4 Hybrids, up 50% over the same period in 2021. Combined, Toyota and Lexus have delivered just under 400,000 green vehicles in the past nine months. There is no other company providing this many energy-efficient vehicles to the U.S. market.

You can learn more about the brand loyalty study at J.D. Power’s website.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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Image of 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime with American flag courtesy of Kat Silbaugh