SYDNEY: Volkswagen, Subaru and Toyota are the automotive brands enjoying the highest levels of loyalty among consumers in Australia.

Roy Morgan Research, the insights group, polled 6,136 adults, and estimated as a result that 2.2m people in Australia, equivalent to 10% of the country's population, plan to buy a car in the coming four years.

Of this audience, 94% were already drivers, and 6% were new to the sector, suggesting customer retention will be crucial.

Volkswagen, the German firm, headed the charts in terms of the amount of current owners who anticipated "repurchasing the same brand", on 64%, up from 58.6% in 2010.

"Volkswagen looks likely to continue their recent strong sales growth over the coming years, with increasing numbers of VW drivers intending to buy another VW," said Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research.

"Not surprisingly, 98% of those Volkswagen drivers intending to repurchase are satisfied with their current vehicle."

Subaru had led the rankings two years ago on a total of 63%, a rating that contracted to 61% during the latest round of analysis. These figures stood at 59% and 57% respectively for Toyota.

Mazda similarly logged a decrease on this metric, off from 58% to 52%. Ford, in fifth place, witnessed a more positive shift, as loyalty scores rose from 41% to 47%.

Hyundai also "continues to improve well", Morris said. Its returns had increased to 46% from just 31% in 2010, taking in from tenth to seventh spot.

"Of the remaining Hyundai drivers not intending to repurchase, Toyota, Holden, Ford, Mazda and Subaru appear to be the major beneficiaries, with almost half of the remaining drivers intending to switch to one of these makes," said Morris.

"This highlights the importance of the ownership experience – alongside other contributing factors such as the brand's model mix and lifecycle requirements of the purchaser – as a key driver in ensuring the potential for brand repurchasing."

Honda, by contrast, was down from 56% to 46%. Holden, the top-ranking indigenous operator, was flat on 45%.

Kia posted 40% on this metric, with Mitsubishi on 33%, Nissan on 29% and Suzuki on 27%. The first two companies saw performance levels improve, while the second registered declines compared with two years ago.

Data sourced from Roy Morgan Research; additional content by Warc staff