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Advertising Stalls For Big Three Auto Makers
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Advertising Stalls For Big Three Auto Makers

As Washington considers a multi-billion dollar bailout package for the American auto industry, a look at this year’s ad spending by car manufacturers provides even more evidence that Detroit is struggling.

Through July 2008, the Big Three American car manufacturers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) all showed negative advertising growth over 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Ford and Chrysler each spent 22% less on advertising, while GM dropped its spending by 6%.

Compare that with the relative success of foreign automakers. Honda added the most spending in dollars over 2007 (an extra $71.5 million, or 13%), while Daimler (48%) and Volkswagen (23%) showed the most growth percentage-wise.

But not all foreign automakers saw the same success. Hyundai’s spending dropped by 17%, Nissan’s fell 15%, and Toyota’s numbers remained unchanged. The numbers reflect a 10% dip in ad spending across the entire auto industry through July.

RANK Auto Maker $ Spent In Mil

Jan-July 2008

% Change
1 General Motors Corp. $1,245.60 -6%
2 Toyota Motor Corp. $999.00 0%
3 Ford Motor Co. $953.50 -22%
4 Honda Motor Co. Ltd. $621.60 13%
5 Cerberus Capital Management LP (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep) $592.60 -22%
6 Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. $513.00 -15%
7 Hyundai Motor Co. $244.00 -17%
8 Daimler AG $212.60 48%
9 Volkswagen AG $209.60 23%
10 Mazda Motor Corp. $179.00 4%
Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus

So, for the money that has been spent, where has it gone? Of the total $6 billion spent on car and truck ads, more than $5 billion (83%) were placed in television, while $640 million (11%) were placed in magazines

There were some notable declines in media spending this year. Television is down $323.7 million (-6% compared to last year); budgets for magazines (national, local, and B-to-B) were cut $187.3 million (-23%); and newspapers (national, local, and supplements) dropped $58.8 million (-25%). These significant losses contributed to the overall loss of $640 million, bringing advertising for the automotive category down 11% for the first seven months of this year.

Cable television reported a 5% increase in total spend for the Jan-July time period with $881.9 million in total spend. Another bright star in automotive ad spend is Spanish-language cable television, gaining $1.8 million. Finally, spending in local magazines also climbed, showing the largest increase of 23%.

RANK MEDIA TYPE Jan-July 2008

$ mil

% Change

2007 vs. 2008

1 Spot TV $2,568.20 -7%
2 Network TV $1,335.20 -10%
3 Cable TV $881.90 5%
4 National Magazine $622.70 -23%
5 Spanish-Language Network & Cable $174.20 -8%
6 Local Newspaper $132.30 -23%
7 Spot Radio $120.80 -31%
8 Outdoor $71.70 -19%
9 Network Radio $45.70 0%
10 Syndicated TV $42.90 -16%
11 National Newspaper $39.70 -30%
12 B-to-B Magazines $13.70 -27%
13 National & Local Sunday Supplement $5.50 -20%
14 Local Magazine $4.00 23%
TOTALS $6,058.60 -10%
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