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What Keeps You Loyal To A Brand?

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  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    LOL...that's exactly how I recall the brand heirarchy in the 80s and even the 90s.

    Yeah I agree.

    My grandma liked Oldsmobile because she saw it as less of an "old" car, even though it had "Old" in the name.

    lol, well I guess that all depends on what you define as "Old" ;)

    My grandpa drove big Chryslers until they went to FWD, then went to GM, Caddy specifically.

    Well back in the day Grandpa's didn't overspend there money on McMansions like todays baby boomers, thus they could afford a nice car like Cadillac or Lincoln. Our generation won't be able to retire, because they will still be paying on their McMansion, because it has a 40+ yr. note, which they will refiance once they hit retirement age so they can afford to keep it. ;)

    So Kia' could become the "Cadillac" of the old folks of my generation. :sick:

    Rocky
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,013
    That's the generation that both hurt Caddy through bad taste, and kept it alive through loyalty and perceived image. Like my grandpa...born in 1920, became a young adult during the end of the depression (when standard of the world rang true), was always frugal, first house was a concrete block cottage bought for under 10K, usually drove lowline big sedans until he had really advanced in income, second/largest/last house was a 'huge' 2000 sq ft bought for about 3x his yearly salary when he was 40 (3x my salary would buy me a garden shed in my area), still drove Chrysler Newports... then as he neared retirement he finally felt secure enough to buy higher line cars, as the house was paid off, so he treated himself a few times. That won't be happening with today's 40 year notes.

    Better Kia than Chery...
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Yep, we both agree on this one. ;)

    Rocky
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    aspired to anything American because they are all too big, and their handling is zip (the new V-models from Cadillac notwithstanding, although in those cases they are not my cup of tea at all - cars with very high technical limits and super-porky weight, where most of the road feel and any hope of "tossability" is lost in translation). Then again, I also never really aspired to the ones that folks in my region and age group did - European brands - for the same reason most of the time. The kids in California almost always aspired to European cars, although maybe some of the domestic and Japanese luxury brands are working their way in there now, I dunno. Maybe once long ago I kinda wished for a BMW (the 2002 was pretty wonderful in its day, as were the early 320is), but the only brand I have always been interested in that is still "aspirational" for me (at the highly advanced age of 37! :-P) is Porsche. Could the Panamera one day be my first ever Porsche (I know, boo hiss, four doors)? I kinda hope so. Otherwise, it would be a Cayman for me. But if they bring back the Supra, that may interfere for at least a decade.

    What has kept me loyal to Toy/Hon/Subes is rock-solid, unbelievable reliability, even at very advanced ages like well beyond 200K miles. That and their consistency - sit down in one now and you will find a great deal of predictability even if your last experience with one was 10 or 15 years ago. If you LIKE what these brands do, which I do, then you should know they do it extremely well.

    And in case anyone is thinking now would be a good time to start the flames and the statistical references and all the rest of it, I am only doing exactly what most of us do - going again with what we had before and liked, and which worked well for us. It certainly reinforces this theme that every time I have strayed from my Fave 3, I have got into a car which has been a letdown in so many ways, I lost count. But I haven't strayed often, so I will be the first to admit I am basing my decisions on limited and anecdotal data (with a sprinkling of CR thrown in - I know, don't GET you started, right?! :-P).

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    nippononly, you have totally spoken my mind! ;)

    Although right now I am on my first Toyota (well, Lexus) but I think unless something dramatic happens in the next decade or so I would stay loyal to Honda and Toyota. Primarily because I personally have good experience with Honda in the past and My dad on the other hand has good experience with Toyota (He wouldn't buy anything except Toyota). So far the Lexus is treating me very well on both the performance side and dealer/maintanence experience side. By the way thing goes, Acura needs to have a kick-rear next gen TL in order to win my business back or the next IS turns out to be a huge dissapointment :P .

    I have always like BMW but just can't justify myself to spend more while I can get almost the same with Acura and Lexus. Was considering the 330i but ultimately the ugliness of its interior shifted me toward the IS. Although I know I gave up the BMW handling by going with Lexus but the 60 extra HP is well worth it.

    Also agree with you on the Porsche, if one day I decide to go European I think it'll be a Porsche. Panamera looks like it'll be a winner and if Porsche is able keep its price below $100K it might as well be my first car once I turn 40. Cayman S will no doubt to be one of the cars I'll be looking at in 5 years when I am about to replace my current ride. However, although I like the sexiness of a 2-seater I think the practicality side of me will tell me to get a sedan. Maybe it'll come down to be between BMW 3-series, Acura TL, Lexus IS and Porsche Cayman S. The way I am looking is: I can't really go wrong with either one of those.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    As someone who grew up in the 1970s, I can still remember when a brand-new Cadillac - particularly the Eldorado - was the sign that the driver had "made it." In the early 1970s, driving a brand-new Eldorado was a sign of distinction.

    But the 1970s were turbulent decade, and by the late 1970s, I was already aware that Mercedes-Benz was the new aspirational car.

    Oddly, at that time Oldsmobile was in the position that Honda and Toyota are in today - a car that was a cut above the mass market, with a good quality reputation. The Ninety-Eight and Toronado gave added luster to the line. The reputation from the Rocket V-8 and Hurst Olds models still lingered, and the huge success of the Cutlass Supreme added an aura of youth to the division.

    Unfortunately, the Oldsmobile Diesel, the X-car Omega and relentless badge engineering (Monza-based Starfire - enough said) helped bring down Oldsmobile by the mid-1980s.

    Buick was a car for well-to-do retirees or near retirees, but the marque was not burdened with the "Fred Mertz" image that it now has. Buicks were driven by vital, financially comfortable seniors who were ENJOYING retirement.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    We have a 2005 Focus SE sedan, and I'm quite impressed with the ride-and-handling combination. It is BETTER than the ride and handling of the 2004 Civic EX that I test drove. Don't know how it compares to the new Civic, as I haven't driven one of those yet.

    The Fusion is also supposed to be quite good in this area.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Another aspect of being loyal to a brand is good experiences with the car dealer's service department. Having a reliable and good quality auto brand such as Honda or Acura has been enhanced by the courtesy and respect we receive from the service departments of a Honda dealer (20 years) and Acura dealer (6 years).
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    As other posters have already stated, brand loyalty of automotive customers is due to a combination of reasons. For me it is:

    -Overall sales experience from introductions to driving the
    car off of the dealership lot
    -Initial build quality of the vehicle
    -Dependability/reliability of the vehicle
    -Service department's behaviors(e.g. vehicle knowledge and
    friendliness of staff to name a couple of things)
    -A good parts department is a must for me, because I prefer
    to use OEM parts unless it's totally unnecessary to do so

    So with this said, I have had much, much better luck with cars and dealerships of the following brands:

    -Toyota
    -Lexus
    -Honda

    My experiences with cars and dealerships from Ford, GM and Nissan have all been anything but positive with one exception back in the late 70s. :mad:

    The Toyota, Lexus and Honda vehicles we have owned all have required mostly routine maintenance thus far with two exceptions. One of our Honda sedans had to have a left, front wheel bearing replaced at 110,000 miles of operation. Our other Honda sedan had to have a new catalytic converter at 111,200 miles of operation. The Toyota and Lexus vehicles have only required routine maintenance with no exceptions whatsoever. Just the replacement of fluids, filters, belts, tires, wiper blades and your other typical wear items such as front brake pads. I simply could not be any more satisfied! :)

    Maybe I'll give a domestic brand another chance at some point in the future. It's hard for me to say at this point. But it won't be within the next three years or so at least. I want to see some three year reliability ratings for newer domestic vehicles such as Fusion/Milan, Cobalt, Impala, etc. before I possibly purchase one used.

    Ron M.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    You must have some POS domestic dealerships in your neck of the woods. :mad:

    Rocky
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    You must have some POS domestic dealerships in your neck of the woods.

    Rocky


    You got that right Rocky! :) You'll be pleased to hear though Rocky that the one good domestic experience that I had was with a GM product back in the late 70s. A 1977 Pontiac Trans-AM. You and my oldest son would get along great. He's a big GM fan, although he does have a penchant for Nissan Z cars(240Z through 350Z).

    Ron M.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    You got that right Rocky! You'll be pleased to hear though Rocky that the one good domestic experience that I had was with a GM product back in the late 70s.

    That is sad your best domestic experience was like 28 yrs. ago. :mad: I'm going to be 28 yrs. old next month. :surprise:

    A 1977 Pontiac Trans-AM. You and my oldest son would get along great. He's a big GM fan, although he does have a penchant for Nissan Z cars(240Z through 350Z).

    How old is your son ? What GM, vehicles does he like ?

    Sorry GM, dealerships have pooped on you pal. :mad:

    If you ever get pooped on again call a GM, customer service representative to report the dealership so it can be documented is what I was told. ;)

    Rocky
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    He's 17 and loves Corvettes(especially Z06 and regular C5 and C6 models), Trans-AMs(WS-6 in particular), '69 Camaros, Silverado pickup trucks, Tahoes(especially the current, redesigned one), all of the more recent Cadillac product lineups, and the triplets(Envoy, TrailBlazer and Bravada before it was discontinued). There are some more GM products that he likes as well, but those are his favorites. His dream car is the 1969 Yenko Camaro. His first car was a 1995 Formula Firebird. Unfortunately, it was totaled in an accident that wasn't his fault, so now he drives my 1990 Nissan 300ZX which still looks great. I've always taken excellent care of it, so he still finds the car to be a true joy to drive to high school and around town.

    By the way, I'm currently working on some Finite Element Analysis(structural engineering analysis) for a couple of GM-related projects at my employer. It's new business for us and so far GM has been really good to work with. The projects are related to ABS and airbag modules.

    Ron M.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    That was a nice post. Yeah, I'd say your son does like GM, products. Hopefully someday he will find one he will like to own. Since he likes the 69' Camaro, one would assume he likes the concept also. :)

    Thankfully, he is young enough to be entering an era where GM, is doing a good job of offering products that todays youth might want to own. :) Kinda like when you were his age. ;)

    GM, and Ford, are doing a much better job in product appeal. :shades:

    Rocky
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,070
    when I was a kid, I used to think of stuff like 70's Dart sedans, Ford Granadas, and stuff like that as old people's cars. Probably because my grandparents on my Dad's side of the family had a Dart (but it was a Swinger hardtop) and a Granada. And my Grandparents on my Dad's side of the family just acted older, somehow, than my grandparents on my Mom's side.

    Maybe it was because on my Dad's side they retired earlier, and I don't ever remember them working? Anyway, on my Mom's side, Grandmom and Granddad had a '72 Impala and a '73 Chevy pickup, and while Granddad actually had retired, he still did a lot of stuff to keep busy, like gardening, mechanic work, etc. And Grandmom kept working up through 1994.

    Even when my grandparents bought their 1985 Buick LeSabre, I really didn't think of it as an old people's car. Even with its whitewalls, wire wheels, and vinyl roof. Back then though, Buicks did seem to be much more broadly appealing. While a lot of senior citizens were buying them, you still had younger people as well. True, you didn't have very many 18 year olds walking in and specifying a LeSabre Collector's edition, but Buicks weren't just for the blue haired set.

    One car that I thought was truly a jack of all trades for Buick was the Regal coupe. You could equip it with a vinyl roof, wire wheels, and hubcaps if you so desired, or you could get a Grand National and go eat Corvettes for lunch. Or anything in between. The Regal, like the Cutlass Supreme, was almost chameleon-like in its adaptability to different tastes.

    By 1985 though, the T-bird/Cougar had been out for a couple years, and they concentrated more on the sportier end of the market, eschewing the older crowd. Notice that it's pretty rare to see an '83-86 T-bird/Cougar with wire hubcaps, and I don't think you could even get a vinyl roof from the factory, although there were plenty of dealers and aftermarket suppliers ready to put one on, if that's what turned you on.

    I think for me, the turning point for Olds and Buick was when they started to go more aerodynamic in the mid-late 80's. Whereas the aerodynamic styles revitalized Ford and Chrysler, for the most part I don't think they worked as well with Buick or Olds. I thought the 1991 Park Avenue was a looker, but didn't think the 1992 LeSabre was as nicely styled. And the W-body Regal sedan/coupe just left me cold, as did the Century when it went to the Regal-esque grille and composite headlights. The 1992 Skylark was also an odd little thing, and sent sales plummeting to something like 40% of the 1991 level.

    Around that time Olds was delivering a mixed message. On one hand they were screaming "This is NOT your father's Oldsmobile", but suddenly their top selling car WAS your father's Oldsmobile. Or maybe even your grandmother's cousin's...the Cutlass Ciera! And cars like the 1991 Ninety-Eight and Achieva sedan certainly delivered a mixed message. The Achieva coupe wasn't bad though. The Cutlass Supreme coupe was also a nice looking car, but perhaps too futuristic looking for Olds buyers. And the sedan was an odd looking thing. I kinda liked the 1992-99 Olds 88, but the public pretty much overlooked it, preferring the more formal looking LeSabre or the sportier Bonneville.

    Then, in typical GM fashion, as soon as they got Olds to look promising again with products like the Aurora, Intrigue, and Alero, they let the axe drop, letting Oldsmobile die slowly like a chicken with its head cut off, still running around with no direction or hope until every last bit of life had been expired from it.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,793
    Another aspect of being loyal to a brand is good experiences with the car dealer's service department.

    Wouldn't that make you more loyal to the dealer who may sell more that one make of car?

    Having a reliable and good quality auto brand such as Honda or Acura has been enhanced by the courtesy and respect we receive from the service departments of a Honda dealer (20 years) and Acura dealer (6 years).

    I don't know about anyone else but to me talking about how reliable and the quality of a car is then talk about ones experience in the service department seems to be a bit contradictory.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,793
    I will agree with your points but two.

    The sales experience is such a small portion of the experience of owning the car and the dealership is seperate from the manufacturer (you don't stop buying Campells soup because you don't like shopping at the Piggly Wiggly). Because of that to me the sales experience will not have much influence in if I will return to that make. It will have an influence if I return to that dealer but not to the manufacturer.

    Secondly since it is less expensive and far more convienent to have maintence done at my trusted local mechanic I only use the dealerships service department for warranty and recall work. So the more I know about the service department the more likely the car is a POS.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,059
    talk about ones experience in the service department seems to be a bit contradictory

    Maybe they gave them free donuts and coffee while they did an oil change :shades:
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Maybe they gave them free donuts and coffee while they did an oil change

    Bingo!!!

    Jokes aside, this is what happened yesterday...

    Around 5:45 pm I was walking toward to my car on a shopping center parking lot. Immediately I saw something was loose from the undercarriage around the left rear tire. After a close examination I found out it was the mud guard and nothing else was damaged. However, since I am driving to Orlando this Saturday I called the local Lexus dealer up to see if I can schedule a time next day (Friday) for them to fix it. After I explained the situation the Lexus service consultant told me to bring the car over anytime at my convenience. He said I don't need to make an appointment for something like this. Out of my curiosity I asked him what time does the service department close and he told me 7 pm. I then asked him if I can be there in 15 mins can he fix it for me today and he told me no problem.

    The conclusion of this story is that I had my car in at 6 pm and left the dealership before 6:30 pm (with the mud guard fixed, of course). All this with free of charge and I had a cup of capuccino and a chance to look at a few 07' models. :shades:

    My point is, this is the kind of service that'll keep me loyal to a certain brand and dealership experience doesn't automatically relate to low reliability.

    PS, I didn't purchase the car from that dealership (I moved right after purchase the car). So this shows that it's not only the dealership, it's also the brand.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the bigger guys like Ford, Toyota, and Chevy may have a natural edge because they produce vehicles in every type of category.

    For instance, say you have a mid-sized sedan, but you need a minivan or a big pickup truck for you next vehicle. If you're a Suzuki or Subaru customer, you're outta luck and pretty much have to leave the brand. Customer Loyalty is pretty much impossible at that point.

    The bigger guys, with a product in every category, may have a natural advantage there. Toyota could sell you a Sienna or a Tundra.

    Suzuki would have to bid you farewell, pretty much.

    -juice
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I have always thought that the LeSabre styling was done to make the Park Avenue look better. I agree that the 91-96 Park Avenue was very nice. The 97, which moved onto the G-body (Aurora platform), was not the looker that the 95 Riviera was, although it had some of the same styling cues. The 97 Park Avenue looked heavy, if not bloated.

    Olds, with the 95 Aurora, was getting some nice products, but Olds was not the only division at GM in need of better stuff. Oldsmobile's managment may have needed more support, but did they use what they had as well as they could have? I did own a 98 Aurora, and while it had some nice features, the interior had too much hard plastic, the door panels are a prime example.

    I looked at a 2004 low mileage SRX yesterday. The interior does not look like much (door panels and dash), but the dash has a very soft feel to it. I did not touch the door, so am not sure what the feel is like there, but the materials looked like the dash stuff. If it were not for the black interior, I would consider trading, although without the nav probably not.

    I don't know what GM dumped Olds for, but I think that either Buick or Olds had to go because there really has been almost no real difference in the basic cars that they have marketed. Certainly there were styling differences, but the top of the line Electra/Park_Avenue Buick and the top of the line Olds_98/Aurora were basically the same car. The big difference was that Buick out sold the Olds division with only 3 platforms to Oldsmobiles 5 platforms.
  • think the bigger guys like Ford, Toyota, and Chevy may have a natural edge because they produce vehicles in every type of category.

    For instance, say you have a mid-sized sedan, but you need a minivan or a big pickup truck for you next vehicle. If you're a Suzuki or Subaru customer, you're outta luck and pretty much have to leave the brand. Customer Loyalty is pretty much impossible at that point.

    The bigger guys, with a product in every category, may have a natural advantage there. Toyota could sell you a Sienna or a Tundra.

    Suzuki would have to bid you farewell, pretty much.

    I actually think this is more of a problem than a solution. Every manufacturer doesn't need an entry in every class, they need a few good entries in selected classes. I don't want a Saab SUV, thats not what I think of when I think Saab (or Porsche for that matter..who doesn't have a minivan yet, btw). If I wanted a truck or SUV, I would look to GM, DC, or Ford (in no particular order). If I wanted a minivan, I would look at DC and HonYota.

    I think car companies need to quit trying to be all things to all people and be a few things to a few people. Its not about market share as a make anymore, its about market share by model, and being profitable on those levels.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    But it's hard to Saab to even be visible. I bet 80% or more of shoppers don't even have Saab on their radar screen.

    -juice
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    When the nearest Saab dealer is hundreds of miles away, basically an all day drive to get there, much less get any service, and then another long drive home, Saab simply is not a reasonable choice for me. When one can find a few Cadillac dealers within a hundred miles, why go import.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,059
    I would imagine the Saab brand loyalty went out the door with GM buying them. I can remember my partner having a 9000 turbo that was a dandy car. He traded for an XC70 and does not like it as well.
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    As a long-term SAAB owner (since 1968 with a 93, 95, 99, two classic 900s, and a 9000), I woudn't buy a new SAAB. For all practical purposes, they are no longer true SAABs, rather homogenized GM/Opel platforms, or in the case of the 9-2X, a repackaged Subaru Impreza.

    Plus, you're right on target with the lack of dealers. My closest dealer now is 100 miles. That's why since 2001, I've performed all maintenance on our existing two classic 900s. For those with no experience with SAABs, and looking at buying new one, I would respectfully suggest you consider another brand.

    SAABs have really never been exceptionally reliable vehicles, after all, they've always used quite a bit of British pieces & parts which kind of says it all. All of the Finnish, German, and Swedish parts, on the other hand, were always were reliable. Ironically, one of the most troublesome parts in a 99, classic 900, or 9000 was the steering rack. It was a GM-Saginaw unit, just as was the PS steering pump on the 900.

    SAABs - Long-lived yes, but there is a distinct difference between this and reliability, hence the lack of loyalty of some previous SAAB owners.
  • Saab was just an example, I wouldn't think of VW for an SUV either. I think automakers should play to their strengths and make what they are good at. This doesn't mean they should drop all the markets they are struggling in, just the ones they have no business being in.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    With the 1990s LeSabre, GM continued the formula it had used to differentiate the old LeSabre and Electra - they shared front ends and front doors, but the Electra had a longer wheelbase, different rear quarter panels, a more formal C-pillar and a different grille.

    This worked when the cars were bigger. Unfortunately, on the shorter, front-wheel-drive platform, the LeSabre looks truncated (the rounded rear fenders certainly don't help in this regard), while the Park Avenue looks "just right."
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    They cost as much as a RWD BMW, so how many people would choose a FWD Saab. Not a bad car, if sold for around the low $20K's. Not exactly anything with the looks and class of a BMW or Mercedes. Then there are a dozen other cars from Japan. Add in Cadillacs, which may be sitting on the same sales lot. Why are people buying these cars?
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