Brand loyalty is an important factor for automakers to consider, as a consumer who continues to purchase, finance or lease their vehicles is an extremely important asset. With that in mind, customer loyalty severely eroded over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a majority of automaker’s loyalty ratings dropped below the 50 percent threshold. However, for General Motors’ finance arm – GM Financial – this was not quite the case.
According to a report from S&P Global, nearly every major automaker’s captive lenders’ consumer loyalty ratings fell from 2019 figures to 2022 figures, save Tesla Leasing and Lincoln Automotive Financial. However, only Tesla Leasing and GM Financial maintained a loyalty rating above 50 percent over the past three years. In fact, GMF went from the fourth-ranked financial arm in 2019 to the second-ranked in 2022, trailing behind only Tesla Leasing.
It’s worth noting that as the residual effects from the pandemic continue to dissipate, it’s likely that the market will return to a semblance of normal.
“Nearly two-thirds of consumers have been switching banks,” S&P Global Mobility Associate Director of Loyalty Solutions and Industry Analysis Thomas Libby was quoted as saying. “There’s a nomadic element to this with households moving from one bank to another. That’s less loyalty than the banks would like.”
In regard to leasing loyalty, GM Financial once again stands out among the crowd. In fact, both GMF and Ford Motor Credit Company were more successful than their competition, retaining 69.5 percent and 67.8 percent of returning lease customers respectively.
“The whole leasing business cratered because there were no longer any incentives,” Libby stated. “Basically, the dealers have had a huge amount of leverage because of the imbalance between supply and demand. That affected the lease-loans ratio to a huge extent. When a lease customer switches to a loan, that decreases loyalty since lessees in general are more loyal than owners.”