Mike Stevens | Aug 4, 2010

A new survey by Brisbane's Engaged Marketing rates the Subaru brand as having the most loyal buyers.

Surveying 1720 car owners, Engaged Marketing's 2010 Benchmarking Survey saw Subaru achieve a 35 percent Net Promoter Score, with Subaru customers 'far more likely' to recommend the brand to friends and colleagues.

Net Promoter Score measures the likelihood to recommend - which Engaged CEO Chris Roberts describes as "a higher-order metric than mere satisfaction which is now par for the course if you are in business."

“Net Promoter Score is widely recognised as one of the most accurate measures of customer loyalty and importantly is a proven predictor of business growth,” Mr Roberts said.

In the survey, buyers were asked how likely they were to recommend their car or brand to friends and family, on a scale of zero to 10 - ten being "highly likely" and zero representing "highly unlikely".

Those giving a score of zero to six were considered detractors, seven to eight described the respondent as neutral, and nine to 10 made them a promoter of the brand.

Mr Roberts said that the research also demonstrates the impact negative customer comments can have on sales and image, with one negative comment taking "around five positive referrals" to negate that damage.

"In 2009, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported over 12 million registered passenger vehicles in Australia. This means there may be as many as 17 million negative comments being made by customers about their car manufacturer every year,” Mr Roberts said.

While Subaru leads the pack in this particular survey, the survey shows a general preference for Japanese brands.

Honda ranked second with 19 percent, followed by Toyota (13 percent) and Mazda (12 percent). Korean giant-slayer Hyundai held the middle of the pack with three percent (despite a rival survey by Canstar Blue placing Hyundai in top spot for customer satisfaction among Australian new car buyers), followed by Nissan with one percent.

Local rivals Holden and Ford ranked seventh and eighth with -3 percent and -13 percent respectively, followed by Mitsubishi at ninth with -18 percent.

"Based on the scores achieved, it seems certain that some car companies in particular have huge potential to grow simply by focusing on improving their customer experiences and value propositions," Mr Roberts said.

"In the highly competitive car sales industry, achieving a positive customer experience, first time, is more important than ever."

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