"Although there are some signs of economic recovery, the outlook remains uncertain, so for many new-vehicle buyers, high resale value and quality are particularly important considerations that are driving purchase behavior," said Raffi Festekjian, director of automotive product research at J.D. Power and Associates.
"Whether manufacturers are striving to increase loyalty or conquesting buyers from other brands, offering attractively styled models and having strong customer perceptions of resale value and quality are critical."
According to a JD Power report, Mercedes-Benz has the highest rate of customers loyalty. The rate is up 8 percent from 2008, reaching 67 percent this year. The German automaker is closely followed by Japanese producers: Honda has a 64 percent loyalty rate, while Toyota is third with 61 percent loyalty rate.
"Mercedes-Benz has steadily improved its customer retention rates during the past five years, and in 2009, has achieved the highest rate ever attained by a manufacturer since the inception of the study," said Festekjian. "In particular, customers cite the resale value and appearance and styling of Mercedes-Benz models as primary reasons to remain loyal to the brand."
This year, the customer retention survey included 36 automakers, 13 out of which have improved their loyalty rates compared to 2008. British carmaker MINI and German automaker Porsche have the most impressive improvement rates in 2009: 14 percent.