Are Kia and Ford America’s most loved car brands? That’s what a recent study released by Experian Automotive suggests.
Data from the study shows that Kia enjoys a remarkable amount of brand loyalty at the moment, with 48% of Kia buyers returning to the brand to buy another car. Ford, however, is right on the Korean automaker’s heals, boasting 46.5% loyalty.
Why are these two companies so successful in holding onto consumers? In short, they are making products that people love, whether it’s for their driving dynamics, fuel economy, interior, exterior styling or any combination of those and many other characteristics.
From Experian’s data, we’ve compiled a list of the ten cars that boast the highest rate of customer loyalty. Essentially, these are the cars that people love right now. Click through to see what all the fuss is about.
The Ford Focus cracked the Top Ten with 54% of its sales going to previous Ford owners.
Completely redesigned for 2012 with a much better interior and exterior design than the old model, the Focus continues to be a perennial favorite for compact car shoppers. Available as a sedan or hatchback, this car offers versatility, some great standard technology and a fun driving experience.
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Well over half (56%) of Taurus sales went to repeat Ford buyers.
The Taurus is Ford's flagship sedan and it's easy to see why. The car comes with luxury-car quietness, a roomy interior and tons of tech. Opting for the SHO version of the Taurus gives drivers a 365-hp, twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine, too.
This is not the "football" shaped Taurus of the 90s and early 2000s. And it's not the short-lived Taurus of a few years ago that started out life ads a sedan called the Five Hundred. No, this is an all new Taurus, ordered up by CEO Alan Mulally that costs around $30,000 properly equipped, but has a ride and features of sedans costing more than $10,000 more.
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About 57% of Forte Koup buyers stuck with Kia.
The Forte Koup is the two-door version of Kia's compact car offering (seen later on this list). This sporty ride comes in two trims, EX and SX. Consumers opting for the SX get the peppier 173-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine instead of the standard 156-hp 2.0-liter.
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The Edge kept drivers behind the wheel of Blue Oval vehicles, with 58% of Edge buyers repeating Ford purchases.
The Edge is a crossover that fits somewhere between truck, SUV and minivan. The Edge's standard 285-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine produces a solid balance of fuel economy and power and the plethora of safety features make this a great car for the family.
As the popularity of SUVs like the old Ford Explorer has waned, Ford has moved those buyers into the Edge and the new lighter, car-based Explorer crossover.
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The Flex pulled in 58% of its sales from previous Ford owners.
The Flex is an large, boxy, almost retro-designed crossover that boasts a high level of versatility. It comes in front or all wheel drive, with two interesting engine configurations -- a 3.5-liter standard V6 and a 355-hp, 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6.
The Flex has not been a big seller overall. But those who have bought it have been previous Ford owners. It's a terrific vehicle, as rated by AOL Autos and Autoblog, but it has not reached a wider audience as Ford had hoped.
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The dancing hamsters have done a great job at maintaining brand loyalty with the Soul. About 51% of sales went to repeat buyers.
The Soul is probably the quirkiest looking car on this list, and also one of the best values. The $13,900 starting MSRP gives drivers the versatility of a hatchback, 35 mpg on the Highway and lots of standard features.
Quirky cars tend to engender loyalty because those who buy them like to stand out a bit among their peers, and they stay attached to cars and brands that achieve that.
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The Fusion is doing its part to keep drivers behind the wheel of Ford cars, with 61% of sales going to previous owners of the American brand.
The Fusion is a great mid-size car. And it has to be to compete with Camry, Malibu and Accord (among others). The Fusion is one of the sportiest-looking cars in this segment, and it comes with two solid engines options to match. The standard 4-cylinder nets great fuel economy and the available V6 offers a good amount of power. The Hybrid version also beats the Camry Hybrid by a wide margin for fuel economy.
Improvements to the Fusion's interior a couple of years ago have been a huge hit with consumers. The Fusion has also been one of the vehicles that has benefited from increased consideration by consumers after Ford got through the 2008-09 economic meltdown without a government bailout.
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The Ford Fiesta has been snatching up a lot of previous Ford owners, with 63% of sales going to repeat buyers.
The Fiesta, new in 2011, is Ford's most recent foray into economy cars. With great fuel economy, sharp design and a plethora of available options, it's easy to see why this little guy is a big hit with consumers.
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The Cruze is the only GM car that managed to crack the top ten, with 64% of sales going to repeat Chevrolet buyers.
The Chevrolet Cruze helped to usher in a new era at GM of high-quality, uber-desirable small cars at an affordable price. The Cruze has been a hot seller since it became available and there's no reason to see it slowing down.
It sports a segment leading interior, and the Cruz Eco version is attracting a number of previous import buyers.
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More than two-thirds (68%) of second quarter Forte sales went to consumers that had previously owned another Kia. That's pretty impressive.
Kia is the brand that works somewhat in the shadow of its bigger Korean sibling Hyundai. But we expect that there are even better things ahead for Kia as its products just seem to get better and better.
The Forte is Kia's compact car offering, which has to compete with the likes of Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze. The Forte comes with terrific styling, great fuel economy and a low MSRP, which help it to stand out from the crowd. The Forte also boasts a 60-month, 60,000 mile warranty.
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