J.D. Power Study: Truck Owners are Brand Loyal

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Detroit News

Accord­ing to a J.D. Power and Asso­ciates study, brand loy­alty is evap­o­rat­ing, espe­cially among younger car buy­ers. But that is not the case among buy­ers of trucks.

Get the details on truck buy­ers and where their loy­alty falls.

Accord­ing to a J.D. Power and Asso­ciates study, brand loy­alty is evap­o­rat­ing, espe­cially among younger buy­ers. In the car world, the few loy­al­ists remain­ing are to be found among lux­ury buy­ers. Mercedes-Benz, for exam­ple, retains 59 per­cent of its buyers.

On the truck side of the busi­ness, how­ever, the sit­u­a­tion is quite dif­fer­ent. Full-size pickup buy­ers are extra­or­di­nary loyal and stick to their cho­sen brands. This helps explain why Ford, whose F-150 series is America’s best sell­ing vehi­cle, had the over­all industry’s high­est loy­alty rate of 61 per­cent in 2012.

So with the boom in trucks help­ing to lead automak­ers toward a pre-recession level of sales this year, it’s worth look­ing at the way the pickup mar­ket is evolv­ing. Test dri­ves in the all-new 2014 Chevro­let Sil­ver­ado and the refreshed 2014 Toy­ota Tun­dra give insight into the state of the segment.

The Sil­ver­ado (and its sis­ter model, the GMC Sierra) have an advan­tage over their main rivals, Ford’s F-150 and the Ram, in being new designs. The GM pair have received some mild crit­i­cism for overly con­ser­v­a­tive designs, but they are being wel­comed for their improve­ments in fuel econ­omy, lighter weight, over­all refine­ment and atten­tion to com­fort and con­ve­nience features.

It should be noted that Ford is work­ing on its next gen­er­a­tion F-150, due in a year’s time, and will likely reset the bar for fuel econ­omy once again.

As for Toy­ota, the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion model intro­duced in 2007 has just received an exten­sive series of improve­ments for 2014.

Like the Nis­san Titan, the only other full-size pickup from a Japan­ese man­u­fac­turer, the Tun­dra, has strug­gled to com­pete with the long-established Detroit brands.

Though the Japan­ese trucks are com­pet­i­tive in many respects and are designed, engi­neered and built in the U.S., Toy­ota and Nis­san have had a hard time con­vert­ing those ultra-loyal buy­ers. In the case of the lat­est Tun­dra, the design changes make it look more truck-like (chis­eled is how Toy­ota likes to describe it), while the upgrades to the inte­rior improve its com­fort and func­tion­al­ity sig­nif­i­cantly. Toyota’s Entune info­tain­ment sys­tem, avail­able on the Tun­dra, is one of the best in the busi­ness and will even read your incom­ing email, if you wish (lifestyle buy­ers take note).

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