While the American auto industry is no doubt facing an uncertain future, the Big Three can look to NASCAR for some positive news. Not only are the top five drivers in the Sprint Cup Standings all driving American, but also NASCAR fans, long known for their brand loyalty, are staying patriotic when it comes to their vehicles.
According to data from Nielsen’s People Meter sample fused with the respondents of MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer, NASCAR race viewers in Q1’09 were more likely than the average consumer to drive American:
- Drivers of Chevrolet, sponsor of Tony Stewart and Hendrick Motorsports, had 70% higher ratings compared to the composite.
- Drivers of Ford, who sponsors one of NASCAR’s brightest stars in Carl Edwards, had 64% higher ratings.
- Drivers of Dodge, which is now partially owned by a Fiat, is still considered by many an American car, and had 59% higher ratings.
It should be no surprise that NASCAR’s racing teams work closely with the automakers not just under the hood, but also on ways to increase sponsorship visibility – including car signage, uniform apparel, and training the drivers to weave in audio mentions to their interviews – all in hopes of moving the needle when their fans head out to their local car dealership.
As the Big Three American automakers attempt to change public perception and get their cars back on the right track, NASCAR may be the best sponsorship vehicle.