“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 at J.D. Power and Associates.
“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,” she added.
There were 11 brands that placed above average, Ford and General Motors' Chevrolet and Cadillac being amongst them. In 2008, 13 of the 36 ranked brands have improved in customer retention rates from the previous year and 18 have declined. Honda's score increased by 2 percent while Toyota fell from 64.6% to 63.2%.
“In 2008, new-vehicle buyers have become increasingly concerned with monetary factors when deciding whether to repurchase a vehicle brand—a reflection of current economic conditions,” said Ortuño. “Manufacturers with vehicle lineups that adequately address these concerns will be poised to retain a greater share of customers and to win conquests.”
This study was based on responses from 147,238 vehicle owners and lessees and 88,971 replaced a vehicle that was bought new.
Other finalists include Lexus (60.4%), Mercedes-Benz (58.6%) and BMW (58.5%).