With more consumers keeping their vehicles for longer

periods, automakers are having a tougher time keeping

their customers loyal to their brands.

Data shows that 46.2% of consumers who keep

their vehicles for three years and then buy another one

choose the same automaker for their next purchase. But

loyalty rates decline every year that the driver keeps his or

her current car, dropping to 39.8% at nine years of

ownership. The average American is keeping his or her

vehicle for about six years, up from four

years before 2007. The landscape has changed significantly since many

vehicle owners last bought a new car. Some brands, like

Saturn, Pontiac and Mercury, no longer exist. Brands

like Hyundai and Kia have upgraded their reputations while

others like Mitsubishi and Suzuki have been downgraded

in the public’s eye. There are new brands to think about

like Fiat, and new types of cars like the electric and electricgas

hybrids to consider. And when many owners begin their shopping online,

loyalty to a particular dealer takes a hit as well. That’s why

dealerships are putting more emphasis on customer

service for the cars that drivers have now so they can

maintain a connection that will pay off when the owner buys

a new vehicle.