Why do customers keep returning to buy a new Outback midsize SUV, Crosstrek subcompact SUV, Forester compact SUV or another model? A recent report from Automotive News (by subscription) reveals Subaru retains its customers with its latest products and ranks third overall among mainstream brands in customer loyalty.
The top five mainstream leaders in brand loyalty are Ford, with a loyalty rate of 59.6 percent, followed by Toyota at 57.2 percent, Subaru at 55 percent, Chevrolet at 54.9 percent, and Hyundai at 53.8 percent. But not everyone loves the newly-redesigned 2023 Outback and is leaving Subaru.
Subaru is doing a lot right with retaining customers and getting new customers. S&P Global Mobility went beyond brand loyalty to factor in conquest and defection ratios, which show how many consumers are attracted to one brand from another, divided by how many leave and shop elsewhere.
S&P Global Mobility says when those two metrics are combined, the study finds mainstream brands Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru are the most successful.
But not all customers are happy with Subaru’s new 2023 Outback SUV. The 2023 Outback gets a newly-remodeled exterior with a redesigned front fascia, more exterior cladding, a more prominent grille, redesigned LED headlights and fog lights, and a more rugged front bumper cover.
Subaru keeps customers and attracts new ones who have active lifestyles and use their vehicles to escape the city on outdoor adventures. Many use their all-wheel-drive vehicles to get further off the grid for camping, hiking, snowboarding, and kayaking on the weekends.
But not all customers like the 2023 Outback’s more rugged look
One loyal Subaru customer wrote to the editor of Automotive News and said, “We currently have a 2017 Subaru Outback Touring that has been a great vehicle with no problems, and the dealership has been excellent. Without hesitation, we would purchase the same vehicle again, but the 2023 Outback restyle looks terrible in our eyes, so Subaru is off the list as we look for a replacement.”
Outback comes in nine trim levels with new Wilderness and Onyx Edition models designed for those wanting to get further off the grid. All 2023 Outback trim levels get a more rugged look with more wheel cladding and a more rugged front bumper cover.
But only some Outback customers use their vehicles to go off-road. Many need a reliable, all-weather vehicle to get them to work and back safely. Subaru should offer the 2023 Premium, Limited and Touring trims with less cladding, which would appeal to more customers.
Did Subaru go too far with the more rugged 2023 Outback styling? Let us know your opinion of the new Outback in the comment section.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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