Newly released data from the Market Intelligence wing Kelley Blue Book's showed that Toyota moved into the number one spot in consumer brand loyalty ratings for the fourth quarter of 2011. It marked the first time since the third quarter of 2010 that Toyota had claimed that prime position. Toyota's brand shopping loyalty was at 50.6 percent, a 2.7 percentage point jump from Q3 2011, with previous leader Hyundai close behind at 50.2 percent. Ford, which moved to the third position from fifth place in the preceding quarter, is at 47.1 percent brand loyalty. Rounding out the top five spots are Kia while carries on in fourth spot from the previous quarter at 46.5 percent and Honda, which follows with 46.4 percent. Positions six through 10 in the automotive brand loyalty study were held by Subaru, Chevrolet Lexus, Audi and Smart, in that order. 

In commenting on the underlying reasons for Toyota's move back to first place in this critical area, Akshay Anand, market intelligence Web analyst for Kelley Blue Book's noted: "Hyundai was number one in loyalty for the past two quarters thanks to its strong redesigns, attractive value and the struggles of the Japanese brands with safety perception and supply issues. However, Toyota has done a laudable job overcoming these issues, introducing programs such as 'Toyota Care,' while getting its supply back online. The redesign of its flagship, the 2012 Toyota Camry also helped drive interest to the brand and retain owners."

"All in all, there are positive trends for automakers," said Anand. "Traditional leaders like Toyota are leaving the problems in the past and looking toward bright futures, while new players such as Hyundai, Kia and Audi remain forces to be reckoned with in the American automotive industry."

Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence examines brand loyalty while consumers are still in the shopping phase.  For this analysis, loyalty is defined as owners of the brand who are currently shopping the same brand for their next vehicle.  This includes data from consumers who view a trade-in page or private party page in addition to a new-car page on Kelley Blue Book's

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