Brisbane consulting firm Engaged Strategy today released findings from its 2011-2012 Car Consumer Loyalty & Recommendation Study.

With a Net Promoter Score of 36%, Subaru customers are far more likely to recommend Subaru to friends and colleagues and significantly outperformed rivals such as Ford and General Motors Holden in the customer experience stakes.

Mazda came second in the survey of owners from the country’s top nine selling brands, with a positive score of 29 per cent and Toyota was hot on their heels with a Net Promoter Score of 26 per cent. The average car industry score was 13 per cent.

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

<strong>2197 </strong>automobile owners were invited to rate their experience and companies were ranked using the highly regarded Net Promoter Score 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 Net Promoter Score is the percentage of Promoters minus Detractors.
Net Promoter Score 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 just in case you thought the importance of word of mouth had lost its edge, according to the Engaged Strategy 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”.
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Engaged Strategy is a strategic consultancy focused on helping businesses grow by developing fresh customer, marketing and organisational strategies. Engaged Strategy is an approved Net Promoter Score® Loyalty Partner. Christopher Roberts is an Industry Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia.