January 7, 2003

Polk Automotive Loyalty Award Winners Announced

Detroit, Michigan – The winners of the seventh annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards were announced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show, with American Honda Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. capturing awards for the 2002 model year.

“Styling redesigns and incentive programs aimed at attracting customers in today’s competitive market helped to fuel many manufacturers’ increases in loyalty rates,” said Stephen R. Polk, chairman, president and CEO of R. L. Polk & Co.

Within the Overall Manufacturer category, General Motors won for the third consecutive year, increasing its loyalty rate by nearly two percentage points over the last model year. Ford Division won the Overall Make Award for the seventh straight year.

Not only are loyalty rates on the rise, but the number of owners returning to market in the 2002 model year increased as well. A 12 percent increase in the number of new vehicle owners returning to market was recorded in 2002, resulting in an additional 768,000 buyers in the market over the 2001 model year.

“Manufacturer and dealer incentives not only impacted loyalty rates, but also may have encouraged consumers to purchase a new vehicle sooner than they might have otherwise planned,” Polk said.

The vehicle segment Loyalty Awards include nine repeat winners in the 12 categories. New vehicle winners emerged within the Midsize Car, Sports Car and Compact Sport Utility Vehicle categories in 2002. The Toyota Camry, last ranked highest in the Midsize Car segment in 1997, outscored the segment average by more than 10 percentage points to recapture the award. The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is the leader in the Sports Car category, doubling its model loyalty rate over 2001. Debuting within the Compact Sport Utility Vehicle category, the Honda CR-V represents a first-time win of a Polk Loyalty Award for American Honda Motor Co.

“The three new winners on Polk’s award list all exhibited a ‘Styling Redesign’ theme compared with the previous model year,” said Melissa Mullen, manager and industry consultant of loyalty for R. L. Polk & Co. “In a time of incentive wars among the manufacturers, it’s important to remember that incentives are not the only factor that indicate success in the automotive marketplace.”

Polk Automotive Loyalty Award winners – 2002 Model year


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