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Subaru owners are true-blue. A recent study by J.D. Power shows that Subaru had the highest overall loyalty rate of any automaker. At 61.5%, Subaru edged out Toyota at 59.5% and Honda at 57.7% in customer loyalty

What kind of magic causes these customers to keep their Subarus for years and then return the brand when they need a new car? Of course, It probably doesn’t hurt that Subarus are reliable, safe, and well-built AWD vehicles. But more likely it’s because it has made a promise that’s created an emotional connection with its customers. This promise — and what the automaker has been doing to back it up — encourages such strong owner loyalty.

The ‘Subaru Love’ promise

In this promise, the company has committed to “show love and respect to all people at every interaction” it has. It pledges to work along with its retailers in “making the world a better place.”

It’s a simple but strong vision that focuses on two important ideas. One is treating all individuals compassionately and fairly, and the other is helping to improve society and the environment.

This promise is extraordinary because it goes right to the heart of what’s important. It seems that few — if any — automakers have offered anything quite like it. Even Elon Musk’s planet-friendly and cruelty-free promises at Tesla aren’t nearly as all-encompassing.

The promise resonates emotionally with customers. It’s part of the Love campaign, which Subaru has been running successfully for the past 11 years. It keeps already-loyal customers in the fold while also appealing to a younger group of buyers.

And as part of the campaign Subaru has been reaching out to two specific groups in its customer base: animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Big with animal lovers

On its Subaru Loves Pets webpage, the company states that it wants to keep all animals, including shelter animals, healthy and safe. Since 2015, it has been partnering with local animal welfare groups.

In partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), it runs its Subaru Loves Pets initiative every October and has raised over $25 million over 11 years. In this initiative, Subaru dealers gather new pet supplies to donate to local animal shelters and also give starter kits to families who are adopting pets. 

As part of its Love campaign, Subaru also caters to the 60% of its customers who are dog owners. Just about everyone is familiar with its commercials featuring the Barkleys, the adorable canine family enjoying adventures in an Outback or an Ascent. And customers enjoy bringing their pooch along to the many dealerships that are dog-friendly, too. 

Subaru’s commitment to dog lovers continues through its National Make a Dog’s Day on October 22. This program helps shelters find loving homes for special needs dogs. The automaker also has been a major sponsor of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl since 2008. 

How Subaru wins the hearts of nature lovers

Love and respect for the environment is also part of the automaker’s vision in the ‘Subaru Loves the Earth’ initiative. Partners in this initiative are Klean Kanteen, Leave No Trace, the National Park Foundation, the National Parks Conservation Association, and TerraCycle. Subaru helps these organizations with funding, public education, and smart environmental practice programs.

Subaru helps to protect the environment by working to reduce waste, protect resources for future generations, and save natural spaces. All Subaru products are made in zero-landfill manufacturing plants. The only U.S. automotive production plant to be designated as a backyard wildlife habitat is Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. 

Dealerships are also working on projects to help the Earth. In the Seattle area, Carter Subaru has planted over 150,000 trees in the Mountain to Sound Greenway to offset its customers’ carbon footprint.

Another dealership, Subaru of Wichita, partnered with Plant with Purpose to plant 500 trees in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. And Denver’s Mike Shaw Subaru collected five tons of old electronic products from local residents to safely dispose of or recycle.

It’s clear that Subaru is strongly committed to causes that support animal welfare and the environment. And while the company does indeed love pets and the earth, its customers love Subaru. They’ll keep coming back to the brand not only because they want a reliable new CrossTrek or Forester but also because of their emotional connection.