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Owners of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles Are Hound-Dog Loyal to Their Brands

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author photo by Russ Heaps January 2017

Buying a certified pre-owned (CPO) car not only provides some peace of mind, with a limited warranty and sometimes other perks, but it apparently also, according to Experian, instills a huge degree of brand loyalty.

Most vehicle brands offer a CPO program of some sort. Discussion of CPO typically revolves around whether owner benefits outweigh or equal the additional costs. Basically a value equation, this doesn't include another aspect of CPO: elevated buyer satisfaction.

The consumer-credit experts at Experian sifted through more than 12 million vehicle-buying transactions spanning the 12 months from September 2015 through August 2016. What they discovered was that CPO owners returning to the marketplace to replace their current vehicle were very likely to replace it with another CPO vehicle of the same brand. Not only that, but CPO owners buying new the next time around were likely to stick with the same brand as well.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Look closely at just about any used car. You will discover that an advertised CPO example of that model carries a price tag roughly 15- to 20-percent higher than the average cost of the same non-CPO car. For a used car with an average price of $18,000, that CPO kick can amount to $2,700 to $3,600. Can CPO possibly be worth it?

Not only has the dealer gone over the CPO vehicle with a fine-tooth comb, inspecting as many as 100 components and systems and making any necessary repairs, but the manufacturer backs a warranty on that car. Often a CPO can also include other perks, such as free loaner cars during service-department visits, free oil changes and so forth. Moreover, our $18,000 average price is just that: average. It includes the best and worst examples of that model. CPO starts out with only the best. Many of these cars are low mileage, off-lease models.

The Numbers

In its analysis, Experian found that when a CPO owner acquired another CPO car, 75 percent stayed with the same brand. Compare this to only about 61 percent of owners who originally bought new and stayed within their brand when buying new again. Although CPO owners who bought new were less likely to stay within their brand, at 54.1 percent, more than half did.

Big Winners

Some brands fared better than others when measuring CPO-to-CPO brand loyalty. The best at retention:

When going from CPO to new, these were the big winners:

  • Kia -- 65 percent
  • Ford -- 63.5 percent
  • Toyota -- 63.1 percent
  • Honda -- 60.5 percent
  • Chevrolet -- 58.4 percent

Tesla, Subaru, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz led in overall brand loyalty.

What it means to you: With 3 out of 4 owners of certified pre-owned vehicles opting to stay within their brand when buying another CPO car, there appears to be a solid rate of customer satisfaction not only with the brand, but with CPO in general.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Owners of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles Are Hound-Dog Loyal to Their Brands - Autotrader