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General Motors Customers Are As Loyal As They Get: Report

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Where I grew up in rural Michigan, there were two big debates: Michigan vs. Michigan State, and Ford vs. General Motors. People were willing to fight to the death to defend their favorite college football team or their car company of choice. And it turn out GM fans are as loyal as they get.

IHS Markit, a company that collects and analyzes data from tons of different fields, conducts a yearly Automotive Loyalty Awards program. Basically, it’s a little award given to the company that has the most loyal customers, since that is one of the goals of business: you want to attract and keep customers for life. This year’s awards are based on 12.4 million new retail vehicle registrations.


And, yet again, General Motors has taken home the award for overall loyalty to a manufacturer for 2020. IHS Markit reports that GM has a 69 percent customer retention rate (nice), which is largely dictated by its massively popular pick-up trucks. Ninety-three percent of returning owners bought another GM utility vehicle or pickup in 2020.

That being said, Ford does have a leg-up in one category: loyalty to make.

Here’s a list of all the awards given out this year:

  • Overall loyalty to manufacturer: General Motors (repeat winner)
  • Overall loyalty to make: Ford (repeat winner)
  • African American market loyalty to make: Ford and Toyota
  • Asian market loyalty to make: Tesla
  • Hispanic market loyalty to make: Toyota
  • Most improved loyalty to make: Alfa Romeo
  • Highest conversion of conquests to loyalists: Genesis
  • Overall loyalty to dealer: Lincoln (repeat winner)
  • Highest conquest percentage: Tesla (repeat winner)
  • Highest alternative powertrain loyalty to make: Tesla

I think one of the more interesting facts listed above is the fact that Tesla has made so many ‘conquests,’ which basically means it’s the number-one brand that’s converted former gasoline powered cars to EVs. 81 percent of former ICE drivers who purchased an EV bought a Tesla.


In part, IHS Markit pins that on the market options for EVs, which are growing but are still pretty slim. Tesla is the name most people associate with electric cars, and the company has had a leg-up on newer competition in terms of prepping its cars’ performance and the infrastructure required to keep it charged.

You can check out more stats on the IHS Markit site, including a breakdown of segment loyalty winners. I’ll give you one guess as to what light-duty pickup most folks keep coming back to.