Hyundai Emblem

Hyundai is continuing its climb to the top. Kelley Blue Book has declared that the Korean manufacturer has beat out Honda, Toyota, Ford and Subaru in customer loyalty. According to data gathered from online sales at its KBB.com website, a total of 52.3 percent of Hyundai owners researched another Hyundai vehicle as they shopped during the first quarter of this year. Honda, meanwhile, saw 49.7 percent of its owners do the same, and 47.7 percent of Toyota buyers shopped for another of the company's vehicles during the same period. The KBB.com study indicated that 45.4 percent of Ford buyers researched another vehicle in that stable while 44.8 Subaru owners clicked through information on the Japanese automaker's other hardware.

Clearly, vehicle research doesn't exactly translate to owner loyalty, but the fact that so many current Hyundai owners are even willing to take a look at the rest of the company's arsenal is a good bellwether as to whether or not consumers will return to the brand in the future. Hit the jump for the full report.
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Hyundai Ousts Honda, Toyota to Take No. 1 Spot for Brand Loyalty on Kbb.com

Latest Q2 2011 Analysis from Kelley Blue Book's Kbb.com Shows Kia, Mini Also Bucking Loyalty Trends

IRVINE, Calif., July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kelley Blue Book's www.kbb.com, the leading provider of new car andused car information, today announces that Hyundai has ousted traditional mainstays Honda and Toyota to take the No. 1 spot in brand loyalty on kbb.com for Q2 2011. While Hyundai took the top spot in loyalty in February 2010, this marks the first time since kbb.com began tracking this data that Hyundai has held the No. 1 spot for an entire quarter.

Automotive shoppers' loyalty to their respective brands has waned during the past year for the majority of vehicle makes, due to the economic downturn and consumers becoming much more aware of issues such as fuel prices, safety recalls, available vehicle options and additional models within their intended price points.

While many of the auto industry's top players have found themselves struggling to retain customers, Hyundai has blazed a new trail and preserved its loyal consumer base. The driving factors behind this retention have been aggressive marketing campaigns combined with innovative product redesigns like the highly successful 2011 Sonataand 2011 Elantra.

For Q2 2011, Hyundai's brand loyalty was at 52.3 percent, with Honda following at 49.7 percent and Toyota sliding in third at 47.7 percent. Rounding out the top five for Q2 2011 are Ford in the fourth spot at 45.4 percent, andSubaru in fifth at 44.8 percent.

In a time when most brands are losing loyalty, it is notable that fellow Korean automaker Kia also is bucking the trend. Kia is one of only two brands that are up in brand loyalty year-over-year, with the other being Mini. Both Kia and Mini are succeeding in loyalty for reasons similar to Hyundai, with a combined result of attractive redesigns and additional models within their respective lineups, as well as aggressive marketing campaigns.

"Hyundai's product renaissance is benefitting the company not just by attracting an all-new customer base, but by helping them to retain current loyal Hyundai owners, as well," said Arthur Henry, market intelligence manager for Kelley Blue Book. "This latest brand loyalty analysis from kbb.com is a testament to the power of attractive vehicle designs and intriguing marketing in the minds of in-market car shoppers as they consider their next vehicle."

Furthermore, several luxury brands, which have eroded in loyalty over the past few years, have now risen in loyalty for Q2 2011, as well. April and May of this year saw some positive economic signals (such as a sharp drop in gas prices), and as a result, Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence sees prior luxury owners shifting back to the luxury brands they enjoyed when the economy was booming. This is a positive sign for luxury brands such asMercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW, all of which saw quarter-over-quarter increases for Q2 2011 versus Q1 2011, yet all remain down year-over-year.

Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence examines brand loyalty while consumers are still in the shopping phase. For this analysis, loyalty is defined as owners of the brand who are currently shopping the same brand for their next vehicle. This includes data from consumers who view a trade-in page or private party page in addition to a new-car page on Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), or like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb.