Ford and Chevrolet brand loyalty depends on pickups

Without F-Series and Silverado, big Detroit brands see
customer-return percentages drop

It’s been a long history of dueling pickups between the Ford
F-series and Chevrolet Silverado pickups to determine America’s
best-selling truck. And a big part of that continued success for
both brands lies with brand loyalty – sometimes over generations of
owners.

But what happens to Ford and Chevrolet brand loyalty when those
models are removed from the equation? The picture becomes quite
different.

Brand loyalty measures how often a household with a particular
brand’s vehicle returns to the same brand when they make their next
new-vehicle purchase, which could be a replacement vehicle or an
addition to the garage.

Ford brand loyalty for the 2022 calendar year was 58.6%. When
the F-series models – the F-150, F-250 and F-350 – were stripped
out, brand loyalty fell to 49.5%.

At the model level, owners of a Ford F-series showed 62.2% brand
loyalty in 2021 and 59.7% in 2022. As the F-series is Ford’s
best-selling nameplate, it pulled the overall brand loyalty figure
upward by a whopping 9.1 percentage points in 2022.

Similarly, Chevrolet brand loyalty in 2022 was 56.3%. When the
Silverado was removed, it fell to 47.9%. Silverado owners, while
loyal, aren’t quite at the level of Ford owners. Make loyalty for
all Silverado models in 2021 was 54.7%; in 2022, it rose to
55.4%.

(Meanwhile, loyalty to the Ram light-duty pickup has slipped
from a pre-pandemic 47.3% loyalty in 2019 to 36% in 2022.)

Source: S&P Global Mobility

Might the Chevrolet figures be somewhat affected because General
Motors also owns the GMC truck brand? Not necessarily. GMC’s 2022
loyalty rate was 45.1%.

Detroit’s auto manufacturers are cognizant of the loyalty of
their full-size pickup customers.

“The Ford, Chevy, Ram and GMC Sierra dominate the segment. They
know the value of their entries in this segment, and they will go
to extensive lengths to protect their position,” said Tom Libby,
associate director of loyalty solutions and industry analysis at
S&P Global Mobility.

Limiting defections to rival brands is key, and here the
F-Series and Silverado do well, given that roughly 2 million
full-size pickups are sold every year. For the year ending in
February, the Ford F-Series had a net outflow – in other words,
defections minus conquests – to the Chevrolet brand of a mere 5,914
households. In the same period, 2,315 more F-Series households
migrated to Ram than vice versa. Meanwhile, the Silverado had a net
inflow of 1,915 households from the Ford brand. Silverado also
gained 688 previous Ram owners.

The F-series topped retail registrations in the US for 21 months
during the 36-month period between January 2020 and February 2023;
however, the Silverado topped the list for 10 months in that
period. Longer-term, when including retail and fleet sales, the
F-Series has been the best-selling truck in the US for 46
consecutive years, according to Ford-reported sales data.

Source: S&P Global Mobility

Brand loyalty for mainstream brands including Ford and Chevrolet
declined from 56.6% in February 2020 to 50.6% in 2023. Luxury brand
loyalty dropped from 52% to 48.1%.

“The industry brand loyalty hasn’t come back,” said Libby. “Part
of that is the inventory is nowhere near where it used to be.”



This article was published by S&P Global Mobility and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.

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