Toyota buyer loyalty slips in U.S. market – study

DETROIT, May 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Toyota’s safety recall crisis
has helped topple it as the reining automaker in terms of U.S.
customer loyalty, allowing Honda and Ford to leapfrog to the
top spots, Consumer Reports said on Thursday.

An April survey by the nonprofit publication showed that 57
percent of current Toyota owners would “most likely” buy
another new vehicle from Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: ), down from
70 percent in a December survey.

The result suggests that the top global automaker could
face pressure to extend costly sales incentives to win back
U.S. consumers and prevent its market share from slipping.

More than half of consumers surveyed said the “overall
reputation” of an auto brand was the leading factor in their
choice of a new car, Consumer Reports said.

Consumer Reports said Honda Motor Co (7267.T: ) was tops in
owner loyalty in April, with 68 percent of its owners saying
they would return to Honda, up from 67 percent five months
earlier.

Ford Motor Co (F.N: ) also has a higher percentage of
customers who would return to the brand — 61 percent in April
versus 58 percent in December, the survey said.

The Chevrolet brand, which accounted for almost two-thirds
of General Motors Co’s [GM.UL] U.S. sales last year, fell to 49
percent in terms of customer loyalty from 57 percent in
December, the survey showed.

Rounding out the top five top-selling brands in the U.S.
market, Chrysler’s Dodge polled at only 24 percent customer
loyalty, down from 32 percent in December.

Chrysler is under the management of Fiat SpA (FIA.MI: ).

Toyota’s sales fell in January and February while their
competitors showed increases. By March, Toyota began offering
the largest sales incentives in its history and largely
extended those discount offers through the end of May.

Toyota sales rebounded in March and April as customers took
advantage of the incentives, which include zero-percent
financing and up to $1,500 cash back for its top-selling Camry
sedan. The cash rebate on a Tundra pickup truck is $4,000 in
some regions, and there are low leasing rates for many models.

The Consumer Reports results were based on a telephone
survey of 1,704 U.S. adult vehicle owners conducted in April,
the publication said.

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(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Richard Chang)

Toyota buyer loyalty slips in U.S. market – study