January 5, 2004
Automotive loyalty award winners announced
Detroit, Michigan – R. L. Polk & Co. announced the eighth annual Polk Automotive
Loyalty Awards during press days at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.
Capturing loyalty honours for the 2003 model year, which ended September 30, 2003,
are BMW of North America, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Subaru of
America and Volkswagen of America.
Overall make and model level loyalty rates increased by about one percentage point
in 2003, while manufacturer loyalty increased by a half- percentage point, Polk
“In a time of intense competition within the automotive industry, manufacturers are
doing a good job of retaining their current customer base, which significantly
contributes to their bottom line,” said Stephen R. Polk, president and CEO of R. L.
Polk & Co.
General Motors won in the Overall Manufacturer loyalty category for the fourth
consecutive year. Ford Division won in the Overall Make loyalty category for the
eighth straight year. In addition, four of Ford Division’s models won in the
segment-level categories and five vehicles from Ford’s sister divisions, Mercury and
Lincoln, also won segment-level awards.
Unlike previous model years, in 2003 there were only 5 repeat winners from 2002
within the segment level categories. New vehicle winners emerged within all segments
except the Small Car, Minivan, Compact Pickup, Full-Size Pickup, and Midsize SUV
categories. Across the new segment level winners, four had won prior to 2002,
including the Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car, BMW 7 Series, and the Subaru
In order to reflect the expansion of the new car marketplace, two new segment
categories were added to Polk’s Automotive Loyalty Awards for 2003: Prestige Sports
Car and Prestige SUV. Within the Prestige Sports Car segment, Dodge Viper owners
displayed the highest model loyalty rate. The Viper was completely redesigned for
2003, offering customers improved features and an updated look. Polk research shows
consistent improvement in loyalty rates following an existing model’s redesign. The
Lincoln Navigator captured the Prestige SUV category. The Navigator also had a
redesign for the 2003 model year, as well as numerous financial incentives.
Polk’s Manufacturer Loyalty Excelerator report, which is the basis for the Polk
Automotive Loyalty rankings and annual awards, was created to provide household
loyalty information to manufacturers at many different levels.
Table: POLK AUTOMOTIVE LOYALTY AWARD WINNERS - 2003 MODEL YEAR Category 2003 Winner Loyalty% Average (* 2002 winner) Loyalty % for Category Overall Awards: Manufacturer Loyalty General Motors* 67.2 54.6 Make Loyalty Ford Division* 56.6 44.5 Vehicle Segment Awards: Small Car Ford Focus* 24.0 14.8 Midsize Car Mercury Sable 29.4 19.6 Large Car Mercury Grand Marquis 39.8 29.1 Luxury Car Lincoln Town Car 41.1 19.6 Prestige Luxury Car BMW 7 Series 31.4 24.1 Sports Car Volkswagen GTI 16.5 9.7 Prestige Sports Car Dodge Viper 31.5 16.8 Minivan Chrysler Town & Country* 26.2 16.0 Compact Pickup Truck Ford Ranger* 22.0 16.8 Full-Size Pickup Truck Ford F-Series* 37.4 34.9 Compact SUV Subaru Forester 24.5 15.6 Midsize SUV Mercury Mountaineer* 28.9 17.6 Full-Size SUV Ford Expedition 29.0 21.7 Prestige SUV Lincoln Navigator 34.5 21.8