Polk: Ford owners are most loyal buyers this year

Polk, the company that has been examining customer loyalty for 15 years, as Ford claiming the top spot in its most recent survey. After polling nearly 5 million "return-to-market" events, Polk found a majority of Ford customers returned to the brand for their next vehicle.

Ford didn't stop at winning Polk's Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer title, though. The Blue Oval also took top honors in the Overall Loyalty to Make, Ethnic Market Make (African American) and Mid/Full-size Pickup Truck categories.

Toyota also fared well in Polk's survey, earning four awards. For the full list of winners, check out the press release after the jump.

[Source: Polk | Image: Drew Phillips/Autoblog/AOL]
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Ford Takes Top Honors in Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards
Several Repeat Winners in 15th Annual Event

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Jan. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company took top honors in the 15th annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, presented last night at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. Ford received awards in several categories, including: Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer; Overall Loyalty to Make; Ethnic Market Make – African-American; and Mid/Full-Size Pickup for its F-Series truck lineup, a repeat winner in the category. This year marks the first time Ford has won the Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer category since 1999.

Polk's Automotive Loyalty Awards are presented to OEMs that demonstrate a manufacturer's ability to retain owners over repeat buying cycles. "The 2010 awards are based on an analysis of 4.9 million return to market events during the 2010 model year," said Brad Smith, director of Polk's loyalty management practice. The model year runs from Oct. 1, 2009 through Sept. 30, 2010.

Loyalty is determined when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same model or make. Polk tracks owner loyalty throughout the year and its Loyalty Management Practice regularly works with customers to effectively manage owner loyalty through the in-depth analysis of automotive shopping behaviors, related market influencers and development of retention strategies.

"At Ford, we strive to create a diverse portfolio from small cars to trucks that fit every customer's needs," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "We're honored Polk is recognizing Ford, as winners in both the manufacturer and make overall loyalty categories, as it's further proof that we're continuing to deliver the fuel-efficient, high quality products customers are looking for."

This year's awards also honored several OEMs with additional repeat winners across a variety of categories. "It's clear that the OEMs are paying attention to the importance of owner loyalty in this economy," said Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO of Polk. "We've seen many programs put into place to help them keep customers coming back – and it's paying off for them."

Even though industry volumes have been down the past few years, loyalty rates have increased. "Our research has shown that an OEM's core owner base is very loyal and represents a significant percentage of new vehicle sales during tough economic times," said Smith. "In addition, with an overall increase in loyalty to Asian brands, Ford winning top manufacturer honors is a testament to their success in the U.S. marketplace," he continued.

This year, the awards program had several repeat winners. A complete list of those honored during the program is as follows:

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