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Car buyers are most loyal to these brands

Brand loyalty is on the rise across the auto industry, as today's drivers are more likely to stick with a name they know and like more frequently than they did in the past, according to a new study by IHS Automotive.

Although there are a number of factors that can affect a brand's rating, those with a wider product portfolio tend to have higher loyalty numbers because car buyers' needs change over time. For example, a speed demon may end up purchasing a minivan to ferry the kids to school and soccer practice, or a truck owner may want to downsize to save on gas.

Some of the brands that didn't make it into the top 10 received lower ratings because of their more narrow product offering, said Thomas Libby, IHS Automotive's manager of loyalty solutions and industry analysis.

"One of those is Porsche," Libby said, adding that the brand is almost entirely devoted to small two-door sports cars. "For a 911 owner who needs a family hauler—they have to leave the brand."

Luxury carmaker Jaguar also has a slim and focused product line, and Land Rover only makes SUVs. These are desirable names, but may not have scores that reflect the loyalty their customers feel, Libby said.

Still, virtually all carmakers have customer loyalty foremost in the mind.

"It is less expensive to retain a customer than to go out and capture one from another brand," Libby said. "Both at the manufacturer level and the dealer level, they are thinking a lot about how to keep customers."

To compile its quarterly loyalty list, IHS accessed records for every car registered in the U.S. each month. The firm identified every person who purchased a new car in the last 10 years (120 months, to be exact), and found those who then returned to buy another car in the last three months.

Click through to see the auto brands with the highest loyalty ratings.

—By Robert Ferris, Special to CNBC.com.
Posted 2 July 2014

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Image