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Top-10 Car Brands In Customer Loyalty - Subaru Drops Again

Subaru's high customer loyalty with its Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek customers is slipping. See why some customers are leaving the brand.


How loyal are Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek customers? According to a report from Automotive News (by subscription), Subaru's loyalty rate in 2020 was 70.4 percent, and in 2021 through August 31, 2021, Subaru of America's loyalty rating slipped to 69.2 percent.

Subaru wasn't the only automaker to slip. Overall consumer loyalty among all car brands dropped by more than three percentage points in 2021 through August 31, 2021, according to U.S. registration data analysis by Experian.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek customer loyalty
photo credit: North Fort Lauderdale Subaru

In 2021, Subaru was third in customer loyalty behind Ferrari and Tesla. Now Subaru drops to fourth place behind Tesla, Ford, and Ferrari.

How does Subaru's customer loyalty rank with the top ten car brands in 2022? Here are the top ten car brands in customer loyalty through January 31, 2022. The U.S. industry average is 60.8 percent brand loyalty. Now three automakers rank ahead of Subaru with Ford moving up.

1. Tesla 80.9
2. Ford 72.4
3. Ferrari 67.7
4. Subaru 67.1
5. Hyundai -Kia 64.6
6. Toyota 63.6
7. BMW 62.2
8. Nissan 59.1
9. Honda 59.1
10. GM 58.1

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek customer loyalty

Which automakers have the worst loyalty?

Jaguar Land Rover has the worst loyalty rate at 33.8 percent, Mazda at 53.1 percent, Mitsubishi at 53.6 percent, Volkswagen at 50.6 percent, and Stellantis at 50.3 percent round out the bottom five car brands.

Why is Subaru slipping? It's due to low new vehicle inventory due to the global microchip shortages. Cox Automotive data reveals overall car sales volume fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession as the ongoing global microchip shortage continues to deplete inventory. Subaru's inventory levels shrunk to a 3-day supply in April 2022.

2022 has been defined by short supplies of new Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek, the brand's top three selling all-wheel-drive models. Subaru was forced to shut down new vehicle production in Japan five times this year.

Many 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 four and sometimes five months for Subaru to deliver the new car.

Customers looking for a 2022 Subaru Forestermor 2022 Crosstrek will not find any new model sitting on retailers' lots this summer. A source close to Subaru told us, "Every 2022 Crosstrek and Forester we have coming through September is sold."

Subaru customers remain loyal to the brand even with the razor-thin new car inventory of its most popular models; the 2022 Forester compact SUV, Outback midsize SUV, and Crosstrek subcompact SUV. They are willing to wait months for their new all-wheel-drive to be built and delivered.

You Might Also Like: New Subaru Models - One SUV Is A Buy Now, Two You Should Wait For 2023

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: main image NFL Subaru


Paul Cahill (not verified)    May 24, 2022 - 5:22PM

I bought my 2015 WRX in July 2014. I won't buy another Subaru. While mechanically it has been great for the last 82k miles, the radio sucks (I have the Harmon upgrade with Nav, but this model radio was only used in the 2015), my wife hangs up on me if I try to call her with the hands free mic. The steering wheel was replaced at 40k miles because the leather was peeling off. New one started to do the same thing at 12k miles later.
The stitching on the passenger front seat started to come undone on the base. Hardly anyone ever rode in that seat.
The leather on the driver's bolster started wearing at 15k.
Never marry your dream girl.

For perspective, in 2020, I traded in my wife's 2010 CX-9 with 160k miles on it and the interior looked almost new and we never had any mechanical problems on it.

Why Subaru skimps on the steering wheel leather - the one part of the car my hands will be on for the entirety of the car's life, is beyond me. And this is NOT unique to my car. google it.

Dan Whisman (not verified)    May 25, 2022 - 9:48AM

Subaru's slogan used to be "inexpensive and built to stay that way". It seems that Subaru has drifted far from that philosophy. The repairs on my Subaru have been numerous and would have been expensive, had I not been a DIYer. Subaru has never reached out to me regarding my lost loyalty. Strike one. The design that makes replacing common parts, like headlights, a pain, and the frequent failures of headlight (a problem known to Subaru that they refuse to address along with other recalls). Strike 2. And finally, not giving me what I, the customer, wants; a manual transmission in a model that isn't the low end of a model, where I can't have the great features, like leather seats, sunroof, and some color besides black. I want a nice, but fun car to drive that will be reliable. Subaru no longer offers that and tries to steer me to only what they want to sell, not what I, the customer wants. Strike 3.
Another Subaru is not in my future. Change your ways and we'll talk.

Pacman (not verified)    June 3, 2022 - 11:35AM

In reply to by Dan Whisman (not verified)

Manual transmissions are all but dead in the US. The vast majority of cars don’t even come with a manual option anymore, and manuals make up something like 2% off car sales (if that). They are less efficient than CVTs in terms of mileage anyway. This isn’t a Subaru thing, the whole industry is phasing them out.

John Davidson (not verified)    May 25, 2022 - 10:34AM

I have had a steady stream of Subarus since 2008, including 2 Foresters and 3 Outbacks, including my current 2020 Outback which I'm eagerly wanting to replace; with something other than a Subaru. Sadly. The Subaru infotainment system is the deal breaker for me. Some controls just need buttons, and reliability. The head unit in my Outback has been reprogrammed 3 times and replaced twice in the first 30,000 miles. It's still glitchy and slow.

I still have my 2011 Forester, that my teenage daughter drives, and it has required less repair shop time over 11 years than the 2020 Outback has in 2 years. While I like technological innovation, it needs to work properly and at least as well as what it's replacing. In the case of the current large screen nfotainment/control system, Subaru has dramatically missed the mark and driven me away from their vehicles.

Angelo Sperlongo (not verified)    May 26, 2022 - 9:01AM

Suburu "UPGRADE" with zero down and monthly payments either lower or slightly higher is nothing but a hook to get you in dealership... I'm leasing a 2020 Outback Premiere model with only 11000. Miles... I asked for a 2022 Outback Limited no navigation/moon roof... Salesman came back with $3500. DOWN and $100. More ontop of my monthly payment..After 8 years of Loyalty it is time to say GoodBye....

Jonathan Martin (not verified)    May 26, 2022 - 3:41PM

Id also agree with subaru owners bailing on the brand. I bought a 2015 Outback and the CVT engine makes for the worst driving experience. I couldnt wait to get rid of it.

Karen R Burris (not verified)    May 26, 2022 - 6:39PM

I liked my Forester but the dealership is no longer on my preferred list. The way that they deceived us after we bought 3 cars previously we decided to look elsewhere for our next car. During our departure from Dick Hannah Vancouver, we discovered some very smart competitors in Nissan Rogue and Jeep Cherokee. I loved the way they drove and they have similar features of our Forester. I'm looking forward to trading my Subaru Impreza and finding my new favorite dealership.

Ian Crinean (not verified)    June 1, 2022 - 11:30PM

In reply to by Karen R Burris (not verified)

Go with the Rogue. My wife and I loved ours when we had ours before we traded it in for a Pathfinder.

I'd be wary of anything Jeep because of the fact that they are connected to Chrysler with oll of their issues, and also because the resale value of any Jeep from the last 10 years ago in my experience (I'm a total loss claims rep) has a trajectory not unlike trying to use a radiator as a Frisbee off of a bridge.

Side note: I'm also a Subaru owner (19 Legacy) and like it very much except for the fact rhat the Eyesight system is a little questionable sometimes.

Angela (not verified)    May 27, 2022 - 2:34AM

Only 1 choice in a hybrid, then instead of making the Forester or Outback a plug-in or just a plain hybrid, Subaru designs an ugly electric vehicle that doesn’t go enough miles without needing to be charged… I’d rather they improve on what they already have. I get 21 mpg with my 2012 Outback… ready for something that at least doubles that.

Judith (not verified)    May 27, 2022 - 3:43PM

We have a 2015 Subaru outback which we love. A few weeks ago we were given a loaner on a 2021 base model outback with the new large format in formation/entertainment controls. I hope the person who designed this has been fired and unless the new models come with a copilot to actually use the systems you may as well up your insurance coverage because you certainly cannot drive and navigate the system safely simultaneously.

James Chapman (not verified)    May 29, 2022 - 9:14PM

I have 2 Subarus I traded my 2017 Honda Accord and my 2018 Toyota Camry because the quality of them have gone down since they have been made in the USA . In 2020 we got the 2021 Forester and in July I got a 2021 Crosstrek. Both r still made in Japan. The quality is so much better than Toyota and Honda products . U just can beat a Japanese product. There just made better in my opinion.

Craig Taylor (not verified)    May 30, 2022 - 7:21AM

4 reasons why I left Subaru after owning 4 Libertys in a row:
- CVTs
- No normal wagon, only Outback
- No frameless windows (I know it's a small thing, but it was a symbol of uniqueness/quirkiness and a symptom of a bigger issue)
- CVTs

Tina B (not verified)    May 31, 2022 - 11:54AM

2018 Outback - I hate this car. The console is buggy and my custom home screen will go back to default whenever it feels like it. I don’t dare open the drivers or passengers windows lest they refuse to close again. I’ve talked myself blue in the face too Subaru USA…and instead of fixing it, they sent me a box of cookies. THAT is why customer loyalty is in the tank…chip availability, my foot.