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NAIAS 2017, Auto Executive Agree: Hispanic Consumers are a Business Growth Imperative

By Sara Hasson
Jan 26, 2017

January in Detroit means one thing: the North American International Auto Show. Univision News and our team of auto experts were on hand for the annual pilgrimage to see what’s in store for the industry.

Coming off another successful sales year, strategy for an equally successful 2017 was a popular topic — especially the growth potential Hispanic consumers continue to represent for the leading automakers. Read why and how top executives are engaging Hispanic consumers in Spanish-language media as a business imperative.

Driving Growth

The latest Hispanic new vehicle registration data shows that year-over-year sales volume growth for Hispanics continues to over deliver the total industry.  It’s an insight auto executives are keeping close to heart. “Hispanic market [growth] is outpacing General Market by nearly 3 to 1 and truth be told, our share with Hispanics is about a point behind our General Market share. So we look at that as a huge opportunity…” said Paul Edwards, U.S. VP of Chevrolet.

Connect via Passion Points

Developing a close customer relationship requires consistency and tapping into consumer passion points in their language of choice…Spanish. SVP Sales & Marketing for Nissan, Christian Meunier, talked to the opportunities Nissan will leverage in 2017—especially with fútbol (soccer). “We have continued to reinforce our presence in grassroots events [like] supporting the Mexican National Soccer team. This is the type of [effort] we are going to do more and more because we think we have a big opportunity in grassroots to show we’re very committed.”

Reach Young, Influential Audiences

Auto executives also discussed the importance of young Hispanic consumers. “The Hispanic market is a younger audience, their purchasing power is approaching a trillion and a half dollars; they are a big force in the automotive marketplace” said Kurt McNeil, VP of Sales Operations for General Motors. Not only do Hispanics account for 21 % of U.S. Millennials 2 but Hispanic Millennials comprise 16% of total Hispanic new vehicle sales, compared to only 12% for Total Market.3 To reach these consumers, scale is crucial. Of the top 100 entertainment programs with Bilingual Millennials in 2016, 89 of them were on Spanish-language television.4

McNeil also discussed how technology and staying connected impacts young consumers’ media habits. U.S. Hispanics spend 2+ more hours a week than the total population online with their smartphones, U.S. Hispanic video viewers spend nearly 20% more time per day watching digital video in comparison to Non-Hispanics. 5 As McNeil said, “We have to make sure our marketing approach addresses that…we have really amped up our capabilities in that regard because we have to reach younger consumers.”

Sources: (1) IHS Automotive Driven by Polk New Vehicle Registrations (Personal including Lease): Enhanced Ethnic Data; U.S.; Jan-Sep CY15, Jan-Oct CY16. (2) U.S. Census Population Projections Released in 2014. (3) IHS Automotive Driven by Polk New Vehicle Personal Retail Registrations (Sales and Leases), 1-3Q CY16; U.S. (4) Nielsen, NPM-H (12/28/2015-12/25/2016) Mon-Sat 8pm-11pm/Sun 7pm-11pm, excludes repeats and sports programming, Live+7. Based on all ad-supported broadcast and cable networks. Language Spoken by the Person, Bilingual defined as (Mostly Spanish, Mostly English and Spanish/English Equally). (5) Emarketer US Hispanics 2016: Who They Are, What They’re Doing On Digital And Ad Spending To Reach Them; US Hispanics Continue To Lead In Digital Video Consumption; thinknow Research Survey.

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