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The Top 5 Car Brands In Customer Loyalty - Why Subaru Just Dropped Again

What are the top car brands with the most loyal customers? There was a time when Subaru Forester and Outback owners were the most loyal, but why has that changed?

How loyal are customers who are buying the 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, and 2021 Crosstrek? Subaru has enjoyed one of the highest customer loyalty rates, but things have changed. Here is why the Subaru of America has slipped again in brand loyalty.

In a live podcast yesterday, IHS Markit Automotive told listeners that Subaru has now slipped from third best in mainstream brand loyalty to fifth-best. The top 5 car brands in customer loyalty are now Honda number one, followed by Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, and Subaru.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback
photo credit: IHS Markit

If you give customers what they want, they will buy your product. But what happens when an automaker has very few new cars to sell? Subaru of America had one of the highest customer loyalty rates in the industry until this year. Last month Torque News via Subaru Report reported Subaru had slipped to number three in mainstream car brand loyalty.

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 this month will fall to its lowest September level since the Great Recession as the ongoing global microchip shortage continues to deplete inventory.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Some customers defect to other brands with Subaru of America's lack of new 2021 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, and 2021 Crosstrek models to sell.

A high percentage of Forester and Outback 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 two and sometimes three months for the car to be delivered.

But many Subaru customers who need a new vehicle now are defecting to Hyundai and Kia because the two South Korean automakers have more new cars to sell. IHS Markit reveals the two brands have the highest conquest rate (buyers trading in another car brand) than other automakers.

This has been a challenging year for Subaru, and it's not getting better. When the September sales report comes out, Subaru could drop as much as twenty percent or more.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback
Subaru introduced the 2022 Forester Wilderness

IHS Markit says redesigns help an automaker's brand loyalty, and Subaru of America just introduced three new models. The Camden, N.J. automaker introduced the all-new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness off-road trim, the redesigned 2022 Subaru WRX sport-tuned performance sedan, and the second-generation 2022 Subaru BRZ sports coupe.

Subaru customers will return and buy the refreshed 2022 Subaru Forester and other new models, but the new vehicles may not arrive until late this year or early in 2022.

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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 USA