Toyota fell from its perch as the leader in brand loyalty among car shoppers, slipping to third place while Hyundai surged ahead to first, according to Kelley Blue Book. Honda maintained its second-place position from 2009.
Hyundai increased its percentage of Hyundai owners looking at new models within the brand by 10.4 percentage points, to 56.3%. Toyota fell 4.4 percentage points to 53.3% from 2009 to 2010, mostly because of its highly publicized recall issues. Honda managed to increase its loyalty by 0.7 percentage points to 55.8%.
KBB points to popular new products such as the Tucson and Sonata to partially explain Hyundai’s increase. The 2010 Sonata joined the likes of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Honda Civic on the list of KBB’s top 10 most researched vehicles.
Meanwhile, Toyota is experiencing a troubling PR debacle over its recalls, while Honda vehicles such as the CR-V and Accord “are a bit stale in the marketplace,” KBB executive market analyst James Bell said.