CarMax Car Brand Loyalty Survey Shows Growing Popularity of Electrified Vehicles
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CarMax Car Brand Loyalty Survey Shows Growing Popularity of Electrified Vehicles

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  • CarMax’s latest study on brand loyalty showed some major upheavals, including the Toyota Prius replacing the Corvette at the top of the model loyalty list.
  • Even despite its relatively few number of models, Tesla ranked fifth in brand loyalty.
  • SUV owners are the most loyal to body style, and more electrified SUVS are coming to market.

CarMax, the largest used-car retailer in the U.S., recently looked at car brand loyalty based on whether customers bought the same brand as their trade-in. The results highlighted “a broader trend towards alternative fuel vehicles,” CarMax said.


The results also made clear that the overall shift to electrified vehicles — including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles — is real.

The proof? The hybrid electric Toyota Prius was the model with the highest brand loyalty in 2023, with 38.1% of Prius owners choosing a Prius as their next vehicle. Toyota RAV4 hybrid owners were also very loyal, with 32.9% opting to buy another RAV4, the seventh highest in model loyalty.  

Electrified Cars Make the List for the First Time

Image care of Toyota

Toyota had the most loyal brand owners overall at 28.5%, helped by its electrified models. Tesla also showed considerable car brand loyalty, ranking fifth at 24.7%.

My, how times have changed. The last time CarMax looked at brand loyalty, in 2017, no electrified vehicles were on the top 10 list for either brand or model.

Of course, CarMax only began selling Tesla EVs in 2018, so it couldn’t make the 2017 list anyway, CarMax noted. The brand’s ability to debut so highly on this year’s list, even with its limited model offerings, speaks to its popularity.

Indeed, the brand loyalty to electrified models on this year’s list speaks to the popularity of electrified vehicles overall. Consider this: In 2017, the Chevrolet Corvette topped the model list of most loyal owners. The Toyota Prius replaced it at the top this year, teehee.

Image care of Toyota


Meanwhile, the car brand that the most loyal owners in 2017 went for was Lexus.

Expect to see a lot more electrified vehicles appear on the car brand loyalty list next time CarMax decides to dig up the data. For one, many more electrified models are coming to market. 

SUV Owners Are Very Loyal, and More Electric SUVs Are Coming

Image care of Chevrolet

Just as importantly, more electrified SUVs are coming to market, and SUV owners are the most loyal to body type, CarMax found. In 2023, 71.1% of customers who traded in an SUV opted to buy another SUV. That’s up from 61% in 2017 (also the highest level of loyalty).

Those SUV loyalists have a growing number of electrified models to choose from. In the battery electric segment alone, of the 40 or so EVs on the market in the U.S., 70% are SUVs. And more are coming at many price ranges.

This year, new electric SUVs ranging from luxury Jaguar models to the mass market Honda Prologue or Hyundai Kona will be available.

So, consumers won’t have to sacrifice car brand loyalty or body type preference to own an EV. Demand for hybrid vehicles shows consumers want electrification. As range and charging infrastructure improve, they will increasingly migrate to pure EVs.



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