Westlake Village, California – Honda leads the automotive industry in retaining the highest percentage of new-vehicle purchasers, according to a new study released by J.D. Power and Associates. The study, now in its sixth year, measures the percentage of new-vehicle buyers and lessees who replaced a previously-purchased new vehicle with another from the same brand.

Improving by nearly two percentage points from 2007, Honda leads with 64.7 per cent, followed by Toyota at 63.2 per cent, and Lexus at 60.4 per cent.

“Honda has historically been a strong performer in terms of customer retention, but 2008 marks the first time since the inception of the study that the brand has achieved the highest retention rate in the industry,” said Debbie Ortuño, manager of product research and analysis. “This comes at a time when all manufacturers are facing challenges presented by current market conditions, including sales declines and tight credit. In particular, Honda’s reputation for creating safe vehicles with high resale value has been instrumental in retaining owners.”

Overall customer retention has declined slightly, to 48 per cent in 2008 from 49 per cent in 2007. In 2008, 13 of the 36 ranked brands have improved in customer retention rates from 2007, while 18 have declined and five have remained stable. Land Rover posted the greatest improvement from 2007 to 2008, improving by 18 percentage points. J.D. Power said the increase was driven primarily by incentives, attractive sales deals, and the look and styling of Land Rover models.

Among retained customers, safety, fuel economy and deals/incentives have increased as reasons for repurchasing. Among those who went to a different brand, the reasons of fuel economy, ownership/maintenance costs, and deals/incentives had the greatest increases in importance since 2007.

The study is based on responses from 147,238 new-vehicle buyers and lessees, of which 88,971 replaced a vehicle that was previously acquired new. The study took place from November 2007 to May 2008.

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