Corporate Eye

Hyundai Ranks #1 in Brand Loyalty

hyundai elantraAccording to research by Experian Automotive (reported by Motor Trend), Hyundai took the top spot in terms of corporate brand loyalty among American car buyers for the second quarter of 2011.

Suffice it to say, Hyundai has come a long way in the past decade — from the cheap brand with even cheaper quality to the #1 brand based on loyalty. But that’s not all. Hyundai’s Kia brand ranked well for individual brand loyalty with three Kia brands landing in the top 10.

Keep in mind, Hyundai didn’t change its brand image overnight. It took a long time for Hyundai to catch up to other corporate auto brands and finally oust brands like General Motors and Ford that led the brand loyalty list for years. During those years, Hyundai successfully changed its image by altering its brand promise from “cheap” to “good quality at a good price.” It’s a brand promise that is nearly always sure to appeal to many consumers (particularly during an economic downturn) and works as long as the brand consistently delivers on that promise.

Hyundai hasn’t just talked the talk about good quality and good prices over the past decade. The company has walked the walk and proven its commitment to its brand promise. For example, by offering one of the first 10-year, 100,000 mile warranties, Hyundai differentiated its brand from its competitors. Many of those competitors copied the Hyundai warranty, but most couldn’t part with their lucrative extended warranty products. Hyundai put its brand promise on the line by communicating its belief in its promise of good quality at a good price. The 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty was the perfect way to prove the company meant what it said. This is the type of program that attracts new buyers, encourages repeat purchases, and is a public relations dream come true.

Unlike other car brands that have touted good prices and good quality, Hyundai has not gotten complacent. The company realizes that what’s good today, most likely won’t be good enough tomorrow. With that understanding in mind, Hyundai continues to introduce innovative new designs, products, and promotions. Not long ago, ads hyping a new kind of return policy on Hyundai car purchases got people talking (and buying). The ads told consumers that they could buy a Hyundai with less worry because if a buyer lost his job in the next year, he could return his Hyundai!

In 2011, Hyundai is reportedly on track to sell more cars in the United States than ever, and its market share in the U.S. market has more than doubled over the past 10 years since its brand repositioning plan began (via NPR). Furthermore, Hyundai ranked 61st in Interbrand’s list of the Top 100 Global Brands of 2011.

Clearly, Hyundai’s efforts are working. What do you think of the Hyundai brand turnaround? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.