NOTICIAS DE LA INDUSTRIA: Ford Repeats with Top Honors in Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards; Hyundai Recognized for First Time 16th annual event honors manufacturers for consumer loyalty in 2011

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Ford Motor Company took top honors for the second year in a row during the 16th annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, presented this evening at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. Ford was a repeat winner in several categories, including: Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer; Overall Loyalty to Make; African-American Market Loyalty to Make; and Mid/Full-Size Pickup for its F-Series truck lineup, which has been honored in that category 14 out of the last 16 years.
Additional highlights of tonight’s awards program included Hyundai being honored for the first time, with Elantra winning in the compact car segment, and the Ford Escape being recognized in the compact SUV category, another first time winner.
«This is a true testament to Hyundai’s product success and confirmation that it has become an exciting brand in the U.S. market,» said Brad Smith, director of Polk’s Loyalty Management Practice.
Jeep received the award for Most Improved Loyalty to Make for 2011, based largely on the success of the newly redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee. In addition, Chrysler Town & Country continued its reign in the minivan segment, winning its 11th consecutive Polk Automotive Loyalty Award. The Porsche 911 was honored in the luxury sports car category, and the Lincoln MKZ won the luxury car category with a relatively new model.
Polk’s Automotive Loyalty Awards are presented to OEMs that demonstrate a manufacturer’s ability to retain owners over repeat buying cycles.
«The awards represent an OEM’s success in bringing consumers back into their showrooms when they return to market for a new vehicle,» said Smith. «OEMs are more focused than ever before on customer loyalty programs, and those that place high priority on these initiatives are reaping the rewards.»
Loyalty is determined when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same model or make. Polk tracks owner loyalty throughout the year and regularly works with customers to effectively manage owner loyalty through in-depth analysis of automotive shopping behaviors, related market influencers and development of retention strategies. The 2011 awards are based on an analysis of 5.5 million return-to-market events during the 2011 model year. The model year ran from Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011.
«We are honored that our customers continue to choose our products. Each day, Ford endeavors to gain their loyalty and advocacy by providing choices, fuel economy, smart technology and safety,» said Ken Czubay, vice president of sales and service for Ford.
This year’s awards also recognized several OEMs as repeat winners across a variety of categories.
«OEMs are paying increasingly close attention to loyalty as the industry begins to rebound,» said Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO of Polk. «Together with some of the retention programs manufacturers have put in place, and several new product launches in the past few years, there are a lot of exciting options in showrooms for consumers who are in the market for new vehicles,» he said.
Even though industry volumes have been down the past few years, loyalty rates have continued to increase.
‘“It’s clear that keeping customers is an integral part of the business strategy at the OEM and dealer levels,» said Smith «In addition, a renewed emphasis on ethnic marketing has improved loyalty to the brand and manufacturer» he continued.