Reasons not to be
Grass is greener
The first and undeniable factor for non-loyalty is the competition that wins over customers through branding via classical and digital media (26%).
The second reason evoked is similar to the previous one (23%). It is curiosity, a desire for change, to discover a new make. The second neck-and-neck reason for non-loyalty is a more attractive offer made by another make, marking up as many votes. Like a mirror-effect for having remained loyal, the third reason for not remaining loyal resides in dissatisfaction with the previous model (16%). These results show that loyalty is won through trust in the make and lost through attraction to other makes.
The good news is the question of makes is not seen as trivial. It could be tempting to believe that they were sacrificed on the altar of the multitude of offers and popular clichés that put them all on a par, or almost. But this is not the case at all. Nearly 80% of Germans, Portuguese, Chinese, and South Africans are convinced that car makes are not created equal. Whatever the country, they still seem to have their own rank and reason for being. In this time of ferocious competition both price-wise and range-wise, this is a very encouraging sign for marketers.
Motorists who want to change cars are therefore somewhat elusive, more so since they affirm, in 3 out of 4 cases, they are willing to buy a car they have never actually driven before. This proportion is almost exactly the same from country to country, with Japanese, Americans, Turks, and South Africans being hardly more careful (65% on average).
Initially limited to the television, channel-surfing seems to have created a lot of followers. In the consumer world, this is referred to as consumer fickleness.
The multitude of car makes and hyper-choice is enough to make heads spin. Spanish (78%), Italians (77%), Brazilian (71%), Mexicans (72%), and Turks (72 %) are the most inclined to change, declaring that there are too many makes out there to remain loyal to one. German rigour and the Chinese penchant for belonging to a group, unless it’s to do with an aversion to risk, make them more conservative (respectively 49% and 52%).
Not missing a good deal
On the other hand, Germans and Chinese are clearly similar to the other nations regarding the issue of motoring experience. The fear of missing a better deal, something new or breakthrough make 72% of respondents state that they could not remain loyal because there are so many changes happening especially in the quality of offers, technology and services offered by car manufacturers.
Exploring a new automotive horizon
Yielding to temptation is not limited to these aspects alone. The Observatoire Cetelem de l’Automobile on low cost, showed, as from 2010, that expectations of some consumers had shifted towards more features and less status. In 2014, in the discussion on “shared transportation in the future”, they highlighted shared usership, and recourse to occasional or long-term car leasing. 3 out of 4 Europeans were in favour of carsharing and carpooling 10 years from now, associating the car with freedom of use, independence and autonomy.
Consumer habits are changing, subscription-based usership is also increasingly popular, giving rise to many new experiences and thereby increasing the risk that car manufacturers will see their clientele going off to the competition. Hence, nearly 2 out of 3 motorists state that they would take advantage of a leasing or carsharing opportunity to buy another make of vehicle. In this domain, only the Germans are less adventurous.
No room for mistakes
Even though motorists can be easily tempted by a new model, they are categorically intransigent in the event of a disappointment. 83% of interviewees state that there is no possible recourse if they lose trust in a make of car. Behind this strong unanimity, the Japanese and the Germans leave the most room for forgiveness (respectively 28% and 26%): two countries that are very attached to their national car makes, both of which have recently veered off the straight and narrow.
However, if you look at market data following Dieselgate, the reality seems to be catching up on our motorists, and peremptory assertions are sounding hollow. Worthy of note are the figures that are totally consistent with other studies on consumer products where, in 90% of cases, people questioned state that they are not loyal after the failure of a first experience/encounter. Results are even more worrying when you consider that for every declared dissatisfied customer, there are 25 dissatisfied customers who remain silent.