Counting on the Loyalty of Toyota Owners

In what may sound like wishful thinking on the company’s part, some current Toyota advertising mentions the “loyalty” of Toyota owners amid the automaker’s travails. Is there any basis in reality for such an allusion? Recent polling suggests there’s at least some.

In Rasmussen Reports polling this month, 40 percent of respondents who own a Toyota said they’re very likely to buy their next vehicle from that company, with another 24 percent somewhat likely to do so. That compares favorably to the responses when General Motors owners were asked if they’d buy a GM model when next in the market. Fifty-seven percent said they’d be likely to do so, including 32 percent “very” likely.

A Zogby Interactive poll released last week, based on March fieldwork, found Toyota owners more confident than respondents in general about the safety of the company’s products. Among all respondents, 17 percent said they view Toyota vehicles as more safe than other brands, vs. 23 percent saying they’re less safe and 45 percent equally safe. (The rest weren’t sure one way or another.) Among Toyota owners, 38 percent said Toyota vehicles are safer than others, vs. 11 percent saying they’re less safe and 44 percent saying they’re equally safe.

That pattern is consistent with the findings of a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, also conducted in March, that asked people whether they would let their kids (real or hypothetical) ride in a Toyota vehicle. Among Toyota owners, 92 percent said they would, vs. 62 percent of non-owners.

If nothing else, Toyota probably benefits from people’s natural disinclination to regard themselves as chumps. Having already paid thousands of dollars to buy a Toyota, current owners of the company’s wares will be loath to feel they were taken for a ride.