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Consumer loyalty analysis proves crossovers, SUVs are like herpes

They're the gifts that keep on giving, insofar as sales are concerned.

Once you see the makings of a cold sore, you're probably stuck with the problem for life. That seems to be the same way the public treats crossovers, according to new data from IHS Markit.

Consumer loyalty within the SUV/crossover segment has risen to new heights, IHS Markit reports, citing its own research. 66.2 percent of crossover buyers who returned to market in the beginning of 2017 purchased another crossover. 

Crossovers and SUVs have the highest loyalty of any segment, and have since 2014, when the segment finally surpassed sedans.

This could be the first year where a majority of sedan buyers moved to other vehicle types for their next purchase.

IHS Markit

Industry average for consumer loyalty sits at 52.6 for the beginning of 2017 and only two segments are above that average -- crossovers and pickups. Sedans are close, at 48.6 percent, but buyers in the van, hatchback, coupe and convertible segments show very little loyalty within their respective groups. The three most loyal segments comprise some 85 percent of new light vehicle registrations in 2017 thus far.

"The exceptionally high loyalty of SUV/CUV households is driven by continued proliferation of crossover models across a wide range of size, price and functionality (i.e., off-road vs. non-off road)," said Tom Libby, manager of automotive loyalty and industry analysis at IHS Markit, in a statement. "In some cases this proliferation has resulted in two or even three models in the same segment from the same brand."

Crossovers are positively sucking up buyers from other segments, too. Two-thirds of sedan owners who purchased a car in the first four months of 2017 moved to a crossover, which translates to about 300,000 purchases.

None of this should seem surprising. Sales figures for crossovers are about as healthy as can be, as buyers gravitate from sedans to vehicles with higher ride heights, additional cargo capacity and a greater likelihood of available all-wheel drive. That said, there are some notable sedan debuts from the last year that might be able to stem the bleeding, including the 2018 Honda Accord and the 2018 Hyundai Sonata. Crossovers aren't just a fad -- they're slowly growing to consume everything and everyone you love.