In pictures: The Consumer Reports top 10 brands by owner satsifaction

  by Byron Hurd

In pictures: The Consumer Reports top 10 brands by owner satsifaction

When it comes to new car buyers, two types are coveted above all others--"conquest" buyers and repeat buyers; and the former are sought after because they might otherwise become the latter.

For somebody else

The repeat buyer is the holy grail of automotive customers. This is the buyer who has bought in to your brand. Even better: when he or she returns, it may be to buy a larger or more expensive car. 

For that reason, automakers care a great deal about retaining customers. They're willing to pay big money to research current owners and keep them in the brand. Sales experience surveys? Service experience surveys? The manufacturers are making sure their customers are happy.

Because a happy customer comes back. 

So, which brands have the happiest customers? Consumer Reports reached into its massive pool of 300,000-plus survey responses to find out exactly that. These are the top 10 automotive brands ranked by owner satisfaction.

#10 - Lexus

Build a reliable car, bring in a reliable customer. 

That's a strategy the Toyota empire has employed for decades to great success. 73% of owners surveyed said they'd buy another Lexus. That's a solid chunk of buyers that Lexus can count on for another sale, and good enough for #10 overall on this list. 

#9 - Chevrolet

Chevrolet came in at #9. While CR's summary didn't explain exactly which cars scored highest in owner satisfaction, we'd suspect based on other results that the Volt PHEV is high on the list, along with the company's Silverado and Colorado trucks (though the latter likely aren't heavily represented in CR's readership quite yet).

#8 - Chrysler

Yeah, we're shocked too.

Chrysler is the only FCA brand to make the top 10 (Fiat, in fact, finished dead-last). We suspect minivan owners are to thank (blame?) for this result. Despite their less-than-sterling reliability reputation, Chrysler's minivans have boasted a very loyal following for as long as the segment has existed. 

#7 - Mazda

Like many enthusiast brands, Mazda enjoys an owner base that tends to come back for more. Mazda's most-beloved models (such as the MX-5) likely attract owners back for more practical, family-friendly primary vehicles. 

Or, simply another Miata.

#6 - Honda

Here's another one that should be no surprise. Like Toyota, Honda enjoys a reputation for reliability at a good price--a reputation that brings buyers back. If you're under 35, chances are you had at least one classmate whose parents bought him or her a brand-new Civic. Chances are, those parents drove an Accord. 

#5 - Toyota

Toyota's dominance over its own luxury arm may raise some eyebrows, but in a way it makes sense. Luxury buyers may have higher priorities than reliability and resale value. Others offer more performance or a more prestigious badge. 

But in the world of mainstream cars, Toyota's Toyota-ness is undeniably attractive. The Toyota buyer will likely remain one, to the tune of 76% yes-votes. 

#4 - Subaru

Love is what makes Subaru a Subaru, right? Well, called that one right. Subaru owners love their cars and will likely buy more of them. 

Like Mazda, Subaru's following likely began with lifestyle and brand enthusiasts who kept coming back for the automaker's quirky alternative offerings. As Subaru's mainstream portfolio has grown, it has given customers more reasons to stick with the brand. 

#3 - Audi

Like Subaru, Audi returns to the top four this year after a long, steady climb up the ladder of Consumer Reports rankings. Audi customers are likely a lot like Subaru customers--they showed up for the quirkiness and stuck around for the expanded portfolio. There's truly an Audi for just about every taste and budget, so it's no surprise that owners come back for seconds. 

#2 - Porsche

If ever there was evidence that Porsche's unique offerings hold a steady and reliable appeal, this is it. After all, who else is selling rear-engined sports coupes these days.

There is no substitute, right? Owners seem to agree.

#1 - Tesla

Are you surprised? You probably shouldn't be. 

Tesla is no stranger to the #1 spot here. Like Audi, Subaru and Porsche, it is a returning entry. And why not? It's no secret that Tesla owners are fanatical, and there are no true alternatives out there. 91% of owners survey said they'll buy another, making the Tesla customer the holy grail of holy grails.