Polk Automotive Loyalty Award Winners Announced

10 January 2000

    DETROIT -- The winners of the fourth annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards 
were announced today at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), 
with Ford Motor Co. taking home the award for Overall Manufacturer Loyalty 
for the first time and Ford Division winning Overall Make Loyalty for the 
fourth consecutive year.  Other manufacturers capturing Polk Automotive Loyalty 
Awards for the 1999 model year in the model categories were:  General Motors 
Corp., DaimlerChrysler and BMW.

    Based on nearly a one percent increase in loyalty over the last model
year, Ford Motor Co. realized revenue growth of $207 million as a direct
result of obtaining more than 9,300 additional customers in 1999.  By
incorporating lifetime value of each customer retained, Ford should realize
more than $2.8 billion dollars in long-term revenue by keeping these customers
in its owner base.

           Polk Automotive Loyalty Award winners - 1999 model year

    Category            Winner           Loyalty Pct.        Avg. Loyalty
                                                        Pct. for Category
    Overall Awards:
    Manufacturer
     Loyalty            Ford Motor Company    66.0           56.0
    Make Loyalty        Ford Division *       61.3           44.4

    Model Awards:
    Small Car           Ford Escort *         26.9           17.2
    Midsize Car         Buick Century *       31.4           20.1
    Large Car           Mercury Grand
                         Marquis *            41.7           28.1
    Luxury Car          Lincoln Town Car *    40.3           19.9
    Prestige
     Luxury Car         BMW 7 Series          26.9           18.4
    Sports Car          Chevrolet Corvette    19.0            9.8
    Minivan             Mercury Villager      33.8           20.1
    Pickup Truck        Ford F-Series *       37.6           27.8
    Sport Utility
     Vehicle            Jeep Grand Cherokee   30.9           21.3

    *  1998 Model Year Polk Automotive Loyalty Award Winner

    "Winning the Overall Manufacturer Loyalty Award is a great accomplishment
for Ford Motor Company," said Karen Piurkowski, Polk's director of loyalty.
"Their success in this category has not come easily, as they have invested
significant time and resources in helping to serve their customers better.
Ford was also one of the first manufacturers to offer an additional financial
incentive to only its loyal customers, as opposed to offering the same rebate
to all consumers regardless of previous ownership.  Given the commitment it
has made to its customers, Ford has truly earned the top two Polk Awards for
the 1999 model year."

    General Motors also performed well in the manufacturer loyalty category in
1999 (65.7 percent), finishing a close second to Ford.

    "Despite facing the start of the new model year with depleted inventories
on dealer lots due to the UAW strike, General Motors and its employees worked
hard to regain its historically strong loyalty performance -- and it worked,"
said Piurkowski.  "GM's loyalty performance increased steadily throughout the
model year, with particularly strong performance in the third and fourth
quarters."

    New model-level award categories were introduced this year to recognize
two of the fastest growing vehicle segments:  Prestige Luxury Cars (average
sticker price above $50,000), and Sports Cars (with the growing popularity of
Roadsters).  BMW won the new Prestige Luxury Car Loyalty Award with its
7 Series, while Chevrolet's Corvette -- a model that has been on the market
for nearly 50 years -- took home the award in the new Sports Car category.

    "Both the 7 Series and the Corvette have come to be consumer favorites
over the years," said Piurkowski.  "Many manufacturers refresh their product
line by offering new models throughout the years, or even by renaming the same
model to capture the attention of the consumer.  BMW and Chevrolet, however,
have successfully concentrated on renewing the look of these two models over
time without renaming them.  The Corvette has strong brand recognition with
consumers due to the longevity of its name and the same can be said of the
7 Series.  It's obvious that consumers have responded positively to this brand
positioning as evidenced by these models' strong loyalty performance."

    There were five repeat winners in the model-level categories, including
Ford Escort, Buick Century, Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car, and Ford
F-Series.  The Mercury Grand Marquis, Ford F-Series and Ford Escort have
captured the three previous Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards for their
respective categories, while the Lincoln Town Car shared top honors in 1996 in
addition to winning in 1997 and 1998.  Buick Century took home last year's
award in the Midsize Car category.

    Mercury Villager and Jeep Grand Cherokee returned as winners in their
respective categories during the 1999 model year, with Villager winning
previously in 1996 and 1997 and Grand Cherokee taking the 1997 award.

    "Loyalty has become an industry buzzword in recent years, and for good
reason," said Piurkowski.  "Manufacturers are realizing higher revenue and
profits as a result of their improved loyalty efforts.  At the same time,
consumers are benefiting by receiving better treatment, products and
communication from their manufacturers.  Loyalty is not a fad -- it's becoming
an important part of every manufacturer's growth strategy and is providing the
treatment and results that consumers are becoming accustomed to."

    American consumers choose the winners of the Polk Automotive Loyalty
Awards by returning to purchase the same model, make or manufacturer's vehicle
during the current model year.  Polk tabulates results based on all consumer
new-vehicle buying and leasing activity during the model year.  The awards are
based on Polk's proprietary household loyalty methodology, which is measured
by examining those new-vehicle owning households who returned to market during
the 1999 model year to purchase or lease a new vehicle.

    Polk's Manufacturer Loyalty Excelerator(TM) report, which is the basis for
the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, provides the latest insight into this type
of consumer behavior.  This report was introduced to the automotive industry
in 1995 and was created to provide household loyalty information to
manufacturers at many different levels.  It is being used to determine the
awards; to provide loyalty percentages for the entire automotive industry; to
allow for cross-industry comparisons of loyalty behavior; and to examine
loyalty at various levels -- e.g., from the industry level down to the vehicle
line level.  The report measures loyalty throughout the entire model year so
that manufacturers may keep abreast of loyalty trends as they occur in the
industry.

   
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