Hyundai still in KBB's brand loyalty list top spot

Kelley Blue Book's, a website that provides new car and used car information, today reported that Hyundai upheld its No. 1 spot for brand loyalty on for Q3 2011, marking its second consecutive quarter on top.

For Q3 2011, Hyundai's brand loyalty was at 48 percent, with Toyota nearly closing in at 47.9 percent and Subaru at 45.9 percent.  Rounding out the top-five brands for Q3 2011 are Kia in the fourth spot at 45.3 percent and Ford in fifth at 45.2 percent.

While Hyundai continues its lead in brand loyalty, KBB reports that it dropped 4.4 percentage points from the previous quarter.  KBB said Hyundai's decline can be attributed to cooled interest in the Sonata and Elantra models, both manufactured at the company's Montgomery, Alabama assembly plant.

KBB said that for the first time since Kelley Blue Book began tracking loyalty, Honda fell outside the top-five brands, sitting in the sixth spot at 44.2 percent.  The website said Honda's dip in loyalty was the result of lukewarm reception of the 2012 Civic.

In addition, KBB said Honda's perceived supply issues also have influenced shopper activity in Q3 2011.  As year-end approaches, brand loyalty slowly begins to rise. While the majority of automakers still show declines in year-over-year loyalty, a quarter-over-quarter shift into the black reveals that consumers may be taking notice of seasonal blowout deals and loyalty incentive offers.  Manufacturers also have released the majority of their 2012 models; therefore consumers' shopping choices may narrow as they become familiar with the options available in the marketplace.

"The latter half of the year tends to draw interest toward sport utility, crossover and other large vehicles due to weather conditions and seasonality," said Arthur Henry, market intelligence manager for Kelley Blue Book's  "Since Hyundai's flagship vehicles are its compact and mid-size sedans, it is natural that it suffers in this regard."

Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence examines brand loyalty while consumers are still in the shopping phase. For this analysis, loyalty is defined as owners of the brand who are currently shopping the same brand for their next vehicle.  This includes data from consumers who view a trade-in page or private party page in addition to a new-car page on Kelley Blue Book's

INFORMATION SOURCE: Kelly Blue Book news release