Asian Americans and Car Brand Loyalty

We’ve discussed previously on 8Asians, the stereotype of Asian Americans and lowered rice rocket cars, but it turns out there’s a research firm that studies which cars Asian Americans drive, at least which ones they continue to buy, time after time. R. L. Polk & Company puts out yearly, the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, and includes a category on Asian American loyalty. Loyalty is defined as purchasing the same make or model after already owning a car from the same manufacturer.

For 2010, the awards were handed out on January 11, 2011 and Toyota won the Asian American Automotive Loyalty Award (they were also the winner for 2009), which helps to perpetuate the stereotype that Asian Americans drive Toyotas and other Asian makes. The Overall Loyalty Award for a manufacturer went to Ford, replacing Toyota, the 2009 winner. In addition to Asian Americans, Polk also breaks out African Americans (who favored Ford) and Hispanics (who favored Toyota) in separate award categories. It was Ford’s first win since 1999 for the overall manufacturer category. Kia managed a win for most improved loyalty.

It was no surprise to me that Toyota won the award for Asian Americans, as my own dad was a Toyota man. He bought his first all new Toyota in 1979, a Toyota Corolla Sport Coupe with a 5-speed manual transmission, that was much too small for our family. He bought it over my mom’s objections (she wanted him to get an automatic Toyota Corolla sedan, which was much more practical for seating a family of 5 and something she could drive), and I think she probably thought he was going through a mid-life crisis when he chose that particular car. He drove the car for 230,000 miles, and only sold it after my mom made him because it was rusted out from too many New York winters. He continued to buy Toyotas after that and recommended them to anyone who was in the market for a new car.

But somehow, my own dad never convinced me to buy Toyotas, and I wound up buying mostly Honda vehicles my entire life, that is until the beginning of this month when my family bought our second Ford (my spouse’s vehicle being the first), adding us to the statistic of American families that helped to drive Ford to the top of the overall loyalty chart. It actually felt good buying American this time around, and even better that the car cost almost $7000 less than the similarly outfitted Honda would have cost us. Yes, the Asian stereotype of being cheap does still run deep in my veins, even if the one of driving Asian cars doesn’t.

Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
How does this post make you feel?
  • Excited
  • Fascinated
  • Amused
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Angry

About Tim

I'm a Chinese/Taiwanese-American, born in Taiwan, raised on Long Island, went to college in Philadelphia, tried Wall Street and then moved to the California Bay Area to work in high tech in 1990. I'm a recent dad and husband. Other adjectives that describe me include: son, brother, geek, DIYer, manager, teacher, tinkerer, amateur horologist, gay, and occasional couch potato. I write for about 5 different blogs including 8Asians. When not doing anything else, I like to challenge people's preconceived notions of who I should be.
This entry was posted in Business, Current Events, Lifestyles. Bookmark the permalink.