Domestic Auto Spending Slows

NEW YORK As the auto industry continues to sputter and the big carmakers seek a federal  bailout, it’s little surprise that media spending in the category has begun to erode.

According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus data, Ford and Chrysler each spent 22 percent less on advertising in 2008, while General Motors’ ad spend dropped 6 percent.
 
Through July, GM retained its position as the top-spending auto company, investing $1.25 billion in advertising. Third-place Ford shelled out $954 million in the first seven months of this year, while Chrysler spent $593 million, good for fifth place overall. (Related: “Car Biz Driven to Despair.”)
 
As the American car industry scaled back, foreign auto generally increased spend. Honda upped its ad investment by 13 percent to $622 million, while Daimler cranked up its marketing bucks by 48 percent, to $213 million. Volkswagen was up 23 percent, to $210 million.
 
Second-place Toyota was flat versus the same period in 2007, spending $999 million, while only Hyundai (-17 percent) and Nissan (-15 percent) were down.
 
All told, ad spend was down 10 percent across the entire auto industry, per Nielsen data.

Television continues to be the beneficiary of the vast majority of auto spend. Of the $6 billion spent on auto ads, more than $5 billion (83 percent) was slotted in national broadcast, cable and spot TV, while $640 million (11 percent) was placed in magazines.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.