GM defends top spot in IHS Markit loyalty awards; Ford wins other top honors

General Motors kept its status as the top manufacturer for customer loyalty for the sixth-straight year in IHS Markit’s Automotive Loyalty Awards program, while Ford Motor Co. again won major honors for loyalty to a specific make.

The awards are based on 12.4 million new retail vehicle registrations in the U.S. in 2020.

GM’s defense of the top spot stemmed from a 69 percent customer retention rate and the popularity of its utility and pickup lineups: Ninety-three percent of returning owners bought another GM utility vehicle or pickup in 2020, IHS Markit said.

Ford won its 11th consecutive award in the Overall Loyalty to Make category. The Ford brand’s leadership in pickups helped foster a loyalty rate of 63 percent. IHS Markit noted customers were particularly loyal to the brand’s F-Series trucks.

IHS Markit added a category this year that recognizes the ability to retain owners of hybrid or electric vehicles and convince them to purchase alternative powertrain vehicles. Tesla Inc. was honored for its 55 percent loyalty rate in that category, which IHS Markit attributed to the automaker’s battery-electric vehicle selection.

“In such a competitive environment, OEMs have been diligent in their strategic marketing efforts, and it’s clear these initiatives have been a core focus for this year’s winners,” Joe LaFeir, IHS Markit senior vice president, said in a statement.

Tesla won in conquest, another key metric. The brand captured 81 percent of gasoline customers who purchase an EV. Its conquest volume increased 6 percent from 2019.

The Most Improved Loyalty to Make award went to Alfa Romeo. IHS Markit credited the brand with “an aggressive lease strategy” and noted rising interest in the Stelvio compact crossover. Its make loyalty rose 9 percentage points from 2019.

Lincoln won for highest loyalty to dealers. Genesis won for its ability to convert conquests to brand loyalists, its first-ever loyalty award from IHS Markit.

Here are this year’s winners. Repeat winners are marked by an asterisk.

Manufacturer and make loyalty awards

Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer: General Motors*

Overall Loyalty to Make: Ford*

African American Market Loyalty to Make: Ford and Toyota

Asian Market Loyalty to Make: Tesla

Hispanic Market Loyalty to Make: Toyota

Most Improved Loyalty to Make: Alfa Romeo

Highest Conversion of Conquests to Loyalists: Genesis

Overall Loyalty to Dealer: Lincoln*

Highest Conquest Percentage: Tesla*

Highest Alternative Powertrain Loyalty to Make: Tesla

Segment model loyalty awards

Small Utility: Subaru Forester

Midsize Utility: Subaru Outback

Full-Size Utility: Ford Expedition

Midsize Pickup: Toyota Tacoma

Light-Duty Pickup: Ram 1500*

Heavy-Duty Pickup: Ford F-Series

Van: Chrysler Pacifica*

Sports Car: Ford Mustang*

Small Car: Chevrolet Bolt

Large Car: Toyota Camry

Luxury Small Utility: Acura RDX

Luxury Midsize Utility: Lexus RX*

Luxury Full-Size Utility: Land Rover Range Rover*

Luxury Sports Car: Chevrolet Corvette

Luxury Small Car: Lincoln MKZ

Luxury Midsize Car: Lexus ES*

Luxury Full-Size Car: Genesis G90

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