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How Strong Is Brand Loyalty These Days In The Automobile Market?

I have been a big fan of the James Bond Series since high school. I would always go to the movie theater to watch every new release as soon as it came out. When I was in high school, it was the time when GoldenEye featured the BMW Z3, the 750 iL was in Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Z8 was featured in The World is Not Enough. I thought they had to be the best cars in the world since James Bond was driving them. I was so sure I would only drive BMWs. Good marketing by BMW, I guess.

My love for BMW slowed down  a bit about 10 years ago when I realized that we need to move quickly to electric mobility. BMW didn’t have any all-electric models that were widely available then. In 2015, the BMW i3 was released in the South African market. I was really excited. I was just finishing my PhD in Pretoria and looking for a job. I immediately looked on the BMW website for any employment opportunities. I was ready to join any department. I saw one vacancy for a sales position. In my cover note, I specifically pointed out that I would like to join their team to help sell the new i3. I don’t remember ever getting a reply though, but I am sure I would have loved that job.

The BMW i3 received mixed reviews from some circles. Some felt it didn’t look like a “proper” BMW. Production of the i3 has just ended. However, BMW now has a very good line up of all-electric vehicles. I now realize that my love for BMW has never gone away, because if I was to choose which car to buy right now, my first choice would be the BMW i4 M50! Of course, I would need to raise the money first. The BMW i4 M50 starts from R1 600,000 ($97,000).

I had the opportunity to be in one a few months ago, and wow, it looks and feels like a “proper” BMW, just cleaner and better for the environment. One of the main factors that would also influence my decision is the fact that BMW’s new range of battery electric vehicles are now available in South Africa, which is great for after-sales support.

Brand loyalty has for a long time influenced customer choice to a large extent whenever customers thought of buying their next vehicle. However, a new study by S&P Global Mobility has found that brand loyalty, which is defined as the percentage of buyers that go back to the same brand for their next vehicle, is actually falling across the luxury segment. The research spans from January 2020 to April 2022.

The study also showed that Tesla is one of the big winners. Between March 2021 to April 2022, 62% of the buyers who were getting a new Model 3 had previously owned Teslas, showing strong brand loyalty to Tesla. Are you loyal to certain brands? Will this loyalty influence your decision to go electric? Let us know in the comments below.

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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