What car brand has the most loyal customers? According to the latest IHS Markit Automotive Loyalty awards, it's not Subaru. General Motors has the most loyal customers and is recognized as the top manufacturer in customer retention. Subaru was left out in the 26th annual Automotive Loyalty Awards announced this week.
Last year, Subaru of America had two individual category winners; the 2021 Subaru Forester won the Small SUV segment award, and the 2021 Subaru Outback scored number one in the Midsize SUV segment. In 2022, Subaru has no winners.
photo credit: North Fort Lauderdale Subaru
The 2022 Subaru Forester, SOA's number one selling all-wheel-drive model, was beaten by the hot Ford Bronco in the small SUV category. In the midsize SUV segment, the 2022 Outback was passed by the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Why is Subaru shut out of the awards in 2022?
Subaru continues to be hurt by short supplies of new 2022 Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek, the brand's top three selling all-wheel-drive models. "Given the unique nature of 2021, with the challenges of both the pandemic and inventory shortages, retaining customers is more important than ever," said Joe LaFeir, President, Automotive Insights, IHS Markit.
photo credit: Schumacher Subaru West Palm Beach
Why is Subaru slipping? It's due to low new vehicle inventory due to the global microchip shortages. Cox Automotive says overall car sales volume fell to its lowest level this fall since the Great Recession as the ongoing global microchip shortage and supply chain issues continue to deplete inventory.
How loyal are Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek customers? According to a report from Automotive News, Subaru's loyalty rate in 2020 was 70.4 percent, and in 2021 through October 31, 2021, Subaru of America's loyalty rating slipped to 63.6 percent.
A high percentage of Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek customers are return customers trading in a Subaru vehicle. With few new models to sell, many customers are ordering a new model and waiting for three and sometimes four months to deliver the car. Some customers buy a used Subaru model who need a new vehicle now.
How does Subaru's customer loyalty rank with other car brands?
Overall consumer loyalty among all automakers dropped by more than three percentage points in 2021, according to U.S. registration data analysis by Experian.
Even with the inventory shortages, Subaru scores the fifth-best loyalty rate of 63.6 percent, which is better than the average U.S. auto loyalty of 58.6 percent, according to Experian. Tesla has the highest loyalty rate at 76.5 percent, followed by Ford at 68.9 percent, Hyundai/Kia (64.2%), Toyota (63.7%), and Subaru is fifth at (63.6%). The loyalty rates reflect purchases through October 31, 2021.
The 2022 Subaru Forester and 2022 Subaru Outback do not win their category in the latest IHS Markit Loyalty awards. Subaru continues to be hurt by the low inventory of new 2022 Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek, the brand's top three selling all-wheel-drive models.
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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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Photo credit: Subaru