Southfield, Michigan – Brand affinity, quality and reliability are among the top reasons luxury buyers stay within their brand, but each automaker is judged differently by consumers, according to a new report by and Polk.

Polk analyzed the buying patterns for Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz based on a U.S. consumer study that looked at the reasons for a buyer’s loyalty, conquest or defection.

“Understanding behaviours and attitudes is critical in helping automotive marketers to more effectively reach and influence luxury shoppers during their decision-making process,” said Rick Wainschel, vice-president of automotive insights at “Because of this, we sought to take a more in-depth look at why this specific set of buyers was either staying with or defecting from their brands to help uncover opportunities that manufacturers and dealers could take advantage of, or threats they could mitigate.”

When asked why they stayed loyal to a brand, buyers said brand affinity (cited by 44 per cent), quality/reliability (33 per cent), driving performance (24 per cent), price/finance/value (16 per cent) and styling/design (16 per cent).

Beyond these, the study also found that the primary drivers of loyalty differed by brand:

– Brand affinity ranks significantly higher among Cadillac loyalists than any other luxury brand.

– Quality/reliability is cited more often by Mercedes-Benz and Acura loyalists as a reason for returning to the brand.

– BMW loyalists are more apt to identify driving performance as a reason for return purchases.

– Price ranked much higher as a reason for Acura owner loyalty compared to other brands in the study. Acura was also the only brand where technology and innovation ranked as a “top five” reason to stay loyal.

– Audi loyalists ranked styling and design significantly higher than with buyers in other brands.

– Dealership loyalty was among the “top five” reasons for brand loyalty among Lexus and Mercedes-Benz buyers.

Women were significantly more likely to stay loyal to a brand due to the dealership, at 17 per cent versus 11 per cent of men, and were more likely to be loyal to vehicle safety, at 10 per cent of women versus 5 per cent of men. Buyers 55 and over were more loyal due to brand affinity (47 per cent) versus those under 55 (37 per cent), while younger buyers were more likely to remain loyal due to quality/reliability at 54 per cent, versus 31 per cent of owners over 55 years of age.

When buyers do switch to another brand, the top reasons are price/finance/value (cited by 24 per cent), size/body style (20 per cent), brand affinity (17 per cent), time to change (15 per cent), driving performance (13 per cent) and styling/design (13 per cent).

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