Toyota loses top satisfaction spot in US rankings
Crisis-hit Toyota has lost the top spot for customer satisfaction and retention in the US.
The Japanese manufacturer, whose cars have been experiencing a series of high-profile technical problems, have lost out to Korean rival Hyundai and second-placed Honda for the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
The findings come in the latest Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence data.
Comparing February 2010 data to Q4 2009, Hyundai owners looking at new models within the brand increased by 10.4% to 56.3%, good enough for it to top the chart for the first time, up from third place in Q4 2009. In the same period, Toyota fell from top to third place while Honda retained second place. Toyota owners considering a repeat purchase fell by 4.4% to 53.3%. Honda’s score is 55.8%.
At the same time, Kelley Blue Book Values data for Feb 2010 showed that Hyundai outperformed the overall car segment average by a healthy margin, increasing 2% month-over-month, relative to a 0.3% increase for the entire car segment.
The data found that the unintended acceleration issue that has been plaguing Toyota recently, has gone on to affect the brand loyalty that customers feel towards Toyota.
“Hyundai is clearly benefiting from ‘a perfect storm’ – a result of introducing passionate new products like the 2011 Sonata and 2010 Tucson, while Honda’s mainstream vehicles like the CR-V and Accord are a bit stale in the marketplace and Toyota is experiencing a huge consumer perception crisis,” said James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.
This should be another warning sign for the Japanese carmakers, whose models like the Accord and Camry have deep roots in the US top ten best sellers list. Hyundai, along with sister brand Kia and Subaru, were the only carmakers to have increased market share in a troubled 2009.
KBB also reports that the new Hyundai Sonata recently entered the list of top 10 most researched new vehicles at number 5. The only cars that outperformed the Sonata here are the usual strongholds – Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Honda CR-V.