Subaru is Australia’s most recommended car brand

Tue, 20/12/2011


A survey of nearly 2200 car owners shows that for the second year running, more Subaru customers recommend the brand to their friends and colleagues, significantly outperforming rivals such as Ford and General Motors Holden.

Brisbane consulting firm Engaged Marketing conducted the 2011-2012 Car Consumer Loyalty & Recommendation Study, in which Subaru’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 36 per cent outranked eight other brands in the customer recommendation stakes.

Mazda came second, with a positive score of 29 per cent and Toyota third on 26 per cent. The average car industry score was 13 per cent.

Engaged Marketing Founder and CEO Christopher Roberts said the research also demonstrates the massive impact negative customer comments can have on an organisation.

2197 carowners were invited to rate their experience and companies were ranked using the highly regarded NPS, which measures the likelihood to recommend on a scale of 0 to 10. Those who gave their brand a score of 0 to 6 were classified as detractors, while those who gave a 9 or 10 ranking were classified as promoters. The NPS is the percentage of promoters minus detractors.

NPS separates those customers who may recommend a business and bring in new customers, namely promoters, from those whose comments may keep prospective customers away, namely detractors.

“Net Promoter Score is used by the world’s leading brands to drive growth including AMEX, Apple, GE, The Harvard Business Review and Virgin Media,” Mr Roberts said.  

Nine of the most popular car brands in Australia were assessed in the innovative survey, including the loyalty leader Subaru as well as Honda, Toyota, Holden, Ford, Mazda, Hyundai, Nissan and Mitsubishi. 

“In today’s highly competitive environment aiming for mere satisfaction is just not enough, organisations need to aim higher if they want to use their very own customers to drive growth via positive word of mouth and loyalty. There has never been a more critical time to go back to basics and focus on the customer. In the era of social media good news travels fast and bad news even faster,” Mr Roberts said.

And for anyone who thought the importance of word of mouth had lost its edge, according to the Engaged Marketing study, recommendations from friends or family still has the greatest influence on purchase decisions by a mile, with a staggering 45 per cent of consumers choosing word of mouth as the greatest influence on their purchase decision, in comparison to other marketing mediums.

“Our research shows that for every one negative comment made about a particular car, it takes around four positive referrals to negate that damage and for a prospective customer to feel comfortable to reconsider the brand in question,” Mr Roberts said.

“In the highly competitive car sales industry where millions are invested in promotions, deals, product development and advertising achieving a positive customer experience, first time, is more important than ever.”

Engaged Marketing is a strategic consultancy focused on helping businesses grow by developing fresh customer, marketing and organisational strategies. Engaged Marketing is an approved Net Promoter Score® Loyalty Partner. Christopher Roberts is an Industry Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia. The complete 2011-2012 Car Consumer Recommendation & Loyalty Study is available from Engaged Marketing.

Net Promoter, NPS and Net Promoter Score are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld



Every Subaru sold in Australia features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and a horizontally-opposed Boxer engine, standard Vehicle Dynamics Control electronic stability program, and a five-star rating for occupant safety from the independent Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). The result - driving confidence.