Toyota slips in brand loyalty, and it’s partly due to Tesla

(Credit: Toyota)

S&P Global Mobility’s 2023 loyalty ranking of mainstream automotive brands showed something very interesting. During the first four months of the year, Toyota saw a notable decline in its rankings, and part of it is likely due to electric vehicle maker Tesla. 

The rankings showed that Ford and Chevrolet still saw the most loyalty among customers, with the former seeing 59.5% brand loyalty and the latter seeing 57.1% for the first four months of the year. As per analyst Tom Libby during a webinar held by the S&P, Toyota is typically “neck and neck” with Ford and Chevrolet, but this did not happen this time around at all. Instead, Toyota was down 5.7 points from the same time last year to 52.3%. 

“We will obviously have to watch the results going forward, but just in these first four months, Toyota is a disappointment,” Libby said. 

While there are a lot of factors that affect an automaker’s brand loyalty, the effects of Tesla’s presence in the market are definitely becoming palpable. As noted in an Automotive News report, Toyota’s drop could be due to conquests by Tesla, as the EV maker saw a rise in migrations for nearly every mainstream auto brand. In Toyota’s case, the percentage of customers who migrated to Tesla was up 2.1 points to 5% year-over-year. 

Granted, EV sales are still very small compared to the sales of internal combustion-powered vehicles, but Libby highlighted that “there’s no doubt that Toyota, Honda, and some other Asian brands are being impacted tremendously by Tesla.” 

Tesla, for its part, is gaining momentum, with the electric vehicle maker toping the loyalty ranking for luxury brands at 68%. That’s 18.8 points above its closest competitor, BMW, which was in second place. Libby highlighted that no other luxury brand is above 50%, which suggests that Tesla is the only carmaker today that is keeping more customers than it is losing. 

This is a substantial change from previous years, and it is driven by the “extraordinary clout and success of Tesla,” the analyst noted. Tesla’s loyalty is so dominant that it is up 1.1 points even if the company has not really released a new vehicle to the market for several years now.

Interestingly enough, Tesla’s rise is even having an impact on fuel type loyalty. S&P recorded an average EV loyalty of 67.8% in April. This number is impressive, but when Tesla was removed from the dataset, the EV loyalty figures dropped to about 49.7%. 

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Toyota slips in brand loyalty, and it’s partly due to Tesla
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