By Gary S. Vasilash
Tom Libby, associate director and loyalty principal, S&P Global Mobility, thinks that what are ordinarily considered “conventional” or “traditional” automakers have a problem. This isn’t a problem that happened yesterday or last week. It is a problem that has been there for a few years now. A problem that execs at those companies talk about a lot and have made efforts—and for a long time these efforts were not much beyond lip-service—to address it. A problem that is now garnering sufficient attention, though results will vary.
The problem is Tesla.
Tesla vis-à-vis owner loyalty.
Libby charts owner loyalty to a brand. With regard to luxury brands including BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus and Tesla, owner loyalty has been declining. Yet Tesla’s decline still puts it in a position that is much higher than the others. People who buy a Tesla often by another Tesla. The same isn’t as much the case with others. Tesla even takes market share from a number of mainstream brands, as well.
The loyalty rate for the Tesla Model 3 this past March was 76.6%, the sort of figure that program managers at other OEMs wish they had.
Libby says, however, that the Porsche Taycan, which has been available on the market for a few years and the Mercedes EQS, a new entrant, are gaining loyalty.
But if you take into account all of the other models being offered by other OEMs—remember: both luxury badges and well as mainstream—then the dominance of Tesla is rather astonishing.
A question that arises is whether, as other OEMs come out with more-compelling EVs (e.g., while the Cadillac LYRIQ has much to be said for it, remember that GM also foisted things like the Spark EV on the market as though it had relevance when things like the Model S and Model X were on offer: not that there was cross-shopping between those two Teslas and the tiny Chevy, but keep in mind that people were aware of what was being put out there by whom, so Tesla gained share of mind) whether Tesla’s loyal following will peel off.
Let’s face it: there is something to be said about gravity.
You can see the conversation with Libby on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Joe White of Reuters and me here.