Hyundai Leapfrogs Toyota, Honda for Tops in KBB Owner Loyalty

Toyota fell from its perch as the leader in brand loyalty among car shoppers, slipping to third place while Hyundai surged ahead to first, according to Kelley Blue Book. Honda maintained its second-place position from 2009.

Hyundai increased its percentage of Hyundai owners looking at new models within the brand by 10.4 percentage points, to 56.3%. Toyota fell 4.4 percentage points to 53.3% from 2009 to 2010, mostly because of its highly publicized recall issues. Honda managed to increase its loyalty by 0.7 percentage points to 55.8%.

KBB points to popular new products such as the Tucson and Sonata to partially explain Hyundai’s increase. The 2010 Sonata joined the likes of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Honda Civic on the list of KBB’s top 10 most researched vehicles.

Meanwhile, Toyota is experiencing a troubling PR debacle over its recalls, while Honda vehicles such as the CR-V and Accord “are a bit stale in the marketplace,” KBB executive market analyst James Bell said.



No surprise to me, I currently own my 5th Hyundai. No problems with any of them except one recall item on a 2004 Elantra. I'll be in the market for my 6th Hyundai in a year or so. Looks like there will be some pretty nice models from which to choose!


"...I currently own my 5th Hyundai. No problems with any of them..."

No problems? Really? Of course, we don't know which ones exactly you owned. But they had BUNCH of problems. And some of them, like 2003 2.4L engines were BAAAAAD. How about a timing belt failure, after which you needed new valves etc.

No need of these stories. All cars break, and Hondas and Toyotas too, but so far Hyundai has not been stellar. The warranty covered the problem. So, people were OK with that. They came back because of price and warranty.
There is a graph on the net, which shows that Hyundai sales in USA had a big jump exactly when they installed that big warranty. That was the drive of the whole thing, called Hyundai. Price and warranty.


still Tony, this is about Brand Loyalty, not product life.

sure Hyundai doesnt have a stellar track record, no automaker does. Look at toyota right now, and Honda had Transmission problems in the early 00's.


SG, perfect!
Loyalty comes out of product quality, service quality and general experience with the firm.
So Hyundai hit the sweet spot for many people.

But generally speaking, brand loyalty is the dumbest thing that people can have. And it burns people, like those who one day believed in Oldsmobile, or Honda or Toyota.
But I have to say, the bad Honda and Toyota often still better then most, what is also out there.

Derrick G

Speaking of the new Sonata, when are we going to see that review David was talking about two weeks ago?


Tony, while it's not clear whether you have ever owed a Hyundai, regardless of your opinion on Hyundais, it is just showing that the owners are simply happy to go back to the brand. I currently have my 3rd hyundai (Genesis) which is an awesome car needless to say (regardless of price or warranty). In generally speaking, I've have pretty good experiences with the dealerships as well.


I currently own my 3rd Hyundai and have had no problems except once with condensation in my '03 Elantra headlight. Never any mechanical problems whatsoever. I would glady put Hyundai's build quality against any other; especially Toyota or Honda. I bought a three yr old Civic that leaked oil so badly I had to get rid of it within the first year of owning it.

In JD Powers latest survey Hyundai ranked 4th in quality behind just Porsche, Lexus and Cadillac. Not too shabby. They have the highest corporate average fuel economy among all brands according to the EPA. The 2011 Sonata is already an IIHS top safety pick, the Accord and Camry don't even have that distinction. The 2011 Sonata is also the most powerful 4cylinder midsize sedan engine (200hp). And it gets 35mpg...also best in class. It is also an EPA Large class due to total volume. Only the Accord is as well. Heck even the giant Ford Taurus is classfied as a Midsize! ALL Hyundais (even the turbocharged Genesis Coupe)take regular fuel, while some other brands need to spend extra on required premium. A 2011 Turbo Sonata (+250hp) and Hybrid Sonata will be arriving within the next year.

The 10 yr warranty is great but it's more a piece of mind thing. Besides, almost every other company now has a 7yr or 10yr and/or 100k warranty. It's not what sets Hyundai apart. The commitment to quality and listening to their customers is why owners are flocking back. I honestly don't think I will ever need (or want) to go back to another brand after owning my Hyundais.


BTW...the only thing that's stopping me from purchasing a 2011 Sonata is that I'm waiting to hear about the turbo version and I'm still not done with the payments on my current Sonata :(


Where's GM on the owner loyalty ranking?


How coincidental Tony, I find you in yet another Hyundai/Kia article bashing them. Yeah, you're definitely not a Toyota fanboi, I believe you.

Derrick G


KBB's March Market Report doesn't break down loyalty beyond the top three that I can see. It does note that both Chevy and Ford saw increases.

Go here to download it:


I question if Tony has ever owned a Hyundai as well.

I've owned two Elantras in the past (a 2000 and 2002 model) and both were reliable and never gave me any trouble.

I ended up recommending Hyundai to my parents when they needed a new car (after they had non-stop issues with their Pontiac Grand Prix) and they bought a then brand-new 2003 Santa Fe. Aside from the radio display becoming dim- not a single problem in the 100k miles they have driven it.

We're a proud Hyundai family now!


What's your point Tony about the graph? So what if Hyundai's sales initially grew because of the warranty program? Wasn't that their goal? You make it seem like this is somehow a negative, when it's actually a success story.

What matters is the shape of the landscape today. Hyundai may have sold cars a decade ago because of their warranty, but they're selling cars today because of their quality, safety, reliability, attractive design, top fuel economy and residual value.


"...I will ever need (or want) to go back to another brand after owning my Hyundais..."

This is pretty dumb saying, decision, choice.
Car companies make better or worst cars all the time. Some models are good some bad, different models at different times.

I see that we have a lot of Hyundai people here. Go ahead, buy your Hyundai. You think it is the next great thing. Ok. But the reality is that Hyundai is Korean GM with strikes, corruption and all other attributes. You need to know the company because product starts with the culture.

And god forbid you get into car crash and total your Sonata. You will walkout alright, it is safe. But then you will get peanuts from your insurance company because they don't use KBB to estimate it worth.

Now, the test drives revealed that if anything, it drives about as Camry. Disconnected from the road, soft, leaning on the twists.

Hey, it is all about preferences. I buy car for 10 years. And I want it to be nothing short of what road machine should be. Sonata is beautiful, worthy of attention but to call it best it would be stretching the truth.

Ah, I forgot. What we dealing with here is new generation of Americans. They know nothing about mechanics and physics. They know how to push the buttons on the cell phones. They throw away working computers with burnt power supplies and good lawn movers with clogged carburetors. But they have ability to tell, which car is good and which one is bad. While car is much more complex thing.

Let me tell you something boys and girls. Most 2000 Hyundais are sleeping on the junk yards, while many 1993 Camrys are still on the road. Just look around.


Many of Governemnt Motors defectors have moved on to Hyundai because they know Hyundai builds a better product.

Buying a Hyundai won't send money to the UAW or support a government run failure.

Derrick G


You need to look around. No one's talking about a buying a 1993 Camry now or a 2000 Sonata. Go ask how many 2007 Camry owners have had transmission trouble or have had trim fall off or squeaks or rattles. If we're comparing Toyotas of yore to Hyundais of yore, there's no comparison. But Hyundai's worked doggedly in improving their quality while Toyota's focused on cost-cutting. For the results, see the article posted above.


Is Tony an old geezer stuck in the past? What's with you constantly bringing up the early days of Hyundai? It's 2010, not 1990, or even 2000. Every company starts off somewhere. Do you think the first Toyotas were even remotely reliable? It took them decades to get to where they are. You're comparing a company that has had a couple decades head start in building cars...of course Toyota should have had more reliable cars than Hyundai a decade ago. But another decade has passed and the story's changed now, with Hyundai's quality being top notch. What you're behaving like is if people were still puffing their chests about the glory days of Britain ruling over America centuries ago. Get your head out of the past man.


Tony, when you bring up the 1993 Toyota to a 2000 Hyundai, what you're doing is comparing a 30 year old adult to a 10 year old kid. Of course the 30 year old would be more "reliable" than the 10 year old. But when you keep bashing on Hyundai's of today, you keep evaluating it as if it's still the 10 year old kid instead of using the grown up version of Hyundai. On the same note, you're evaluating today's Toyotas as if it's still the reliable 30 year old adult it once was, when actually it's really a much older and declining senior. I'm not saying Toyota's out of the picture forever, they could very well come back again, but I'm just trying to create a picture of what you're doing's not a very logical or fair comparison.


just go over what was written again and you will see that I never said that Toyota is better then Hyundai.
I only pointed out that there are people who puts their eggs into Hyundai basket and they, most likely, don't understand what they do or say.

May be you agree with a statement of XJ, who thinks that he will never need or want to move to another brand?
I mean, it is your choice. Ok. I could stick Honda everywhere I said Toyota.
I don't stuck in the past. I take the numbers and make conclusions. And the main conclusion is that Hyundai quality is not "SO GOOD" that it will overshadow all other shortcomings vs other cars.
I was at Hyundai a month ago. I saw 2010 Sonata Limited and I found it being inferior to Accord Ex in terms of assembly quality, design, materials, fit and finish, ride. Better on gas-yes (on paper). Price - yes, warranty -yes. But I don't drive warranty, I drive a car. But then, insurance is more, repair is more $$. So, it is not as great as it looks like. May be they will get there but they are not there yet. Making them "great" is premature.
I am living in 2010. But not in 2015 when Hyundai will be the next Honda.


You are stuck in the past, you still think you're driving a warranty, like 10 years ago. Almost every single review of this car has said the build quality and drive is better than the comparable Honda and Toyota, or at worst the same. Almost everyone agrees the new Hyundai designs are light years better than Honda or Toyota. I'm not saying Hyundais are the best, but they're one of the top cars now. You think you're being objective when in fact you're just making inaccurate or illogical complaints. If you think people are guilty of making it more than it is, you're absolutely guilty of making it worse than it is. I don't think we're getting anywhere with this, so good luck with whatever you're doing.


Tony is troll.
Don't believe him.



"Tony, when you bring up the 1993 Toyota to a 2000 Hyundai, what you're doing is comparing a 30 year old adult to a 10 year old kid. Of course the 30 year old would be more "reliable" than the 10 year old."
Great comparison. My BS meter went off like crazy.
We are talking about cars here. The older they are, the more problems they shall have.
A better comparison would be: We are comparing a 20 year old's health to a retiree's health.


K, I'm talking about the history of the companies, not the cars they make. Toyota has been making cars a lot longer than Hyundai. More time usually means more experience. In 1993 Toyota's been building cars for around 50 years, while in 2000, Hyundai's been building cars for around 20, hence the 30 vs 10 year old comparison in terms of experience. The actual age I chose isn't what's important, it's the stage in their lives. This is the unequal comparison Tony's making. Hyundai's a full fledged, experienced auto company now, not the one with growing pains it once was in the 90's.


From another automotive website:

"J.D. Power notes that for Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Lincoln, and Mercury perceptions of reliability lag reality..."


Tony's apparently missing a few tools in the shed. That quote means Hyundai is in reality more reliable than what some people who are stuck in the past give them credit for, since it takes more time to change perception. It's hilarious that you took a praise of Hyundai and interpreted it as a negative.


go back to your side with your BS

Derrick G

Well Tony the whole quote from Powers certainly was saying that Ford's brands, Cadillac, and Hyundai are more reliable than they're given credit for. So what did you intend to prove by posting it?


Tony, any person with half a brain can tell you that quote means exactly how I explained it to you, so don't pretend what I'm telling you is BS. Are you embarrassed that you couldn't even understand a simple English sentence? Nice comeback fool.

I think Hyundai really deserve to be on the first position ; as it's new new products such as the Tucson and Sonata CR-V and Accord are rocking the market right now.

I'm shocked that Toyota has been surpassed in customer loyalty. I'm a Lexus driver and if I could afford it, I would never buy anything other than Lexus. I also have a run around Toyata Yaris and again would never switch over to another brand (other than Lexus). Hyundai seems to have come from nowhere to poll-position.

I am surprised that Hyundai has topped Toyota and Honda in the loyalty charts. Hyundai has come a long way in such a short time. I admire the dynamism and dedication of this company

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