What Can Automotive Brands Do to Drive Better Brand Loyalty?

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Loyal customers are important for car manufacturers, but loyalty in the automotive industry isn’t an easy feat to achieve. Studies show that car brand loyalty is in decline.

Automotive industry specific challenges

A complex buying journey

The car purchasing journey is complicated for a few reasons. 

  • It’s a rare and expensive purchase. Customers are understandably apprehensive about spending so much money on something they will have for a long time. 
  • Customers have access to many different sources when it comes to researching car brands. Many people find information online, speak to family and friends, or even car mechanics and specialists. 
  • And then there’s choosing a model. An SUV or a hatchback? Or an electric vehicle? What about price range, fuel efficiency, safety features, and so on?

The car purchasing journey is a complex, multi-touchpoint process – from the first time a customer sees a car ad, to their decision to purchase, to their experience with the brand and their choice to switch or stay.

Not enough customer data and insights

Vehicle brands are falling short in their data collection efforts. Without sufficient data, it becomes challenging to devise effective customer retention strategies.

However, merely gathering data isn’t sufficient. Depending solely on data obtained from third-party sources like comparison websites, dealerships, and garages lacks the depth needed to truly understand and influence customer behavior.

What brands truly require is insightful customer data capable of uncovering their needs, desires, values, and preferences. This deeper understanding is essential for crafting targeted and impactful engagement initiatives.

Lack of direct influence

As the majority of research occurs online, at dealerships, or through peer recommendations, car brands find themselves lacking influence over customers’ decision-making process.

While advertising campaigns are an option, their effectiveness depends on customers’ receptivity to the message.

The challenge lies in the limited number of touchpoints available to car companies. Unlike regular purchases, buying a car offers fewer opportunities for brand engagement.

Without direct influence, car brands face difficulty in preventing customers from switching to competitors.

So, how can car brands retain customers?

A personalized, omnichannel buying journey

To make the purchasing journey easier, brands should be able to personalize. Personalisation is all about giving customers what they want, when they want it. In the automotive industry, this means helping customers find the perfect car for their needs and budget.

Loyalty Programs 

Loyalty programs make it easy for companies to collect customer data at scale. Existing customers can sign up to a loyalty program and input their details, such as personal information and product preferences. The loyalty program can then be used to track all customer activity – from online interactions to in-store transactions.

With a bank of customer data, loyalty programs help create a personalized experience across the entire purchasing journey.

Integrate Customer Data Platforms

With detailed customer profiles, car companies can personalize marketing to customers, rather than using generic communications. 

Real-time interactions also help brands respond faster, reducing the likelihood of a customer becoming disengaged in the buying journey.

In an industry where data is fragmented, a loyalty program is an innovative solution to connecting all the customer touchpoints.

Give the right rewards 

Existing customers often feel that only new customers get rewarded with the best offers. This drives them to shop around, looking for brands that offer great ‘new customer’ packages. That’s why it’s vital to reward and recognise existing customers.

We know from our loyalty experience that customers want to encounter ‘surprise and delight’ moments. With a flexible loyalty program, car brands can offer personalized rewards that their customers truly value.


While building brand loyalty in the automotive industry presents significant challenges, it’s not an insurmountable task. By understanding the complexities of the buying journey, leveraging data insights, and implementing personalized strategies, automotive brands can enhance customer retention and drive better brand loyalty.

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