GM brands performed poorly in the 2021 J.D. Power Automotive Brand Loyalty Study, which attempts to rank brands based on how many returning customers they receive.
For this study, J.D. Power used its ‘Power Information Network’ data to calculate the percentage of vehicle owners that choose the same brand when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle. It then sorted this data by brand, ranking luxury and mass-market automakers based on how many owners purchased a vehicle from that brand after trading in an existing vehicle for a new vehicle.
Of the three mass-market GM brands, Chevy performed the best, with 49.2 percent of owners trading in their current Chevy vehicle for a new one. This placed Chevy in the middle of the pack among mass-market brands. GMC and Buick fared worse, with customer retention of 39 and 32.3 percent, respectively. Subaru led the way with 61.8 percent customer retention, followed by Toyota at 61.1 percent and Honda at 59.3 percent. Chrysler had the lowest customer retention at 14.6 percent.
Cadillac was ranked separately from the mass-market GM brands due to its status as a luxury automaker. Cadillac saw customer retention rates of 37.8 percent, the fifth-worst of the thirteen luxury brands included in the study. Lexus lead the way with retention of 51.6 percent, followed by Porsche at 50.2 percent and Mercedes-Benz and 47 percent.
J.D. Power says 2020 was a stronger than unusual year for customer retention, as consumers were unable to shop around and test drive vehicles due the COVID-19 pandemic. This led many car shoppers to stick with the dealership and brand they already knew in order to simplify the buying process.
“During the height of the lockdown, shoppers who were unable—or unwilling—to visit showrooms in-person weren’t shopping around as much but could still call a dealer and have a vehicle delivered to their homes,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power. “The bottom line is finding a vehicle required working closely with a dealer and, when presented with obstacles, shoppers turned to the dealer they already knew. As a result, the level of increased loyalty this year is remarkable.”