A recent report published by Automotive News draws attention to eight automotive brands that are struggling to retain customers. Car shoppers sometimes referred to as "nomads" tend to leave brands, such as Acura, Audi, Dodge, GMC, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Ram, and Volkswagen after one purchase more often than other automakers. Meanwhile, Tesla is the taker of rivals' customers, and it tends to keep them.
The details in the article come from a study put together by S&P Global Mobility. It breaks automotive brands into different categories to show how their customers either remain loyal to or leave the brands. One primary goal of any automaker is to gain customers and keep them. Associate director of consulting for S&P Global Erin Gomez explains:
"Brands that fail to transform nomads into loyalists not only lose out on the immediate sale to the nomad but also the future loyalty benefit they could have provided as loyalists."
This is the reason for conquest incentives, which offer a special deal to customers who buy or lease a vehicle from a new brand. Loyalty incentives are also at work, which provide promotions to people returning to buy or lease another vehicle from their current brand.
Interestingly, in the industry as a whole, automotive brands are struggling more and more to keep their customers. In fact, Automotive News mentions that a decade-high 58% of car shoppers left their automotive brand between August 2021 and July 2022. Of course, there were many factors at play here, including a global pandemic, price gouging, and a lack of inventory, but the trend is still worth mentioning.
BMW, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Subaru, and Tesla currently do the best job at turning nomads into loyal customers, though the US EV maker is ahead of the pack. In fact, according to S&P Global Mobility, Tesla has kept a whopping 83% of its first-time owners, and it has the lowest number of customers who buy once and then leave the brand for another.
Tesla's "one-and-done" rate is just 39%, while Dodge's is at around 80 and Audi's is at around 70. A detailed look at the chart below helps to put it all into perspective.
The third group of brands referenced in the article includes Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. While these automotive brands tend to have fewer first-time buyers than their rivals, they also have a lower rate of shoppers buying once and then leaving for a competitor. Check out the chart below, which outlines the best and worst brands at conquesting nomads: