The US Hispanic market presents many opportunities yet it remains underserved by the automotive industry and its brands. Many government programs such as the recent ‘Cash for Clunkers’ underperformed with the Hispanic community because of bad marketing, language barriers and a simple disconnection with Hispanic culture. This underperformance has prompted many within the auto industry to question what is being done to make sure that car dealerships and auto brands don’t make the same mistakes with the fastest growing minority group in America.
There are over 52 million Hispanics living in America today. As the largest, youngest and fastest growing minority group in the country, 10 percent of car sales are to Hispanics. While marketing to Hispanics may pose a challenge, the buying tendencies tend to be on par with most ethnic groups in America. The average vehicle purchase cost in America is $28,600 while the average vehicle purchase among Hispanics is over $27,000. This trend continues in luxury car purchases with the average luxury vehicle cost among most ethnic groups at $48,000 and with Hispanics, $47,000.
At the J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Marketing Roundtable Wednesday, a distinguished panel of executives who’ve had great success selling to the Hispanic community answered questions and gave suggestions on to how to better serve this group. The panel included Trina Barta, director of Media Operations at General Motors, Brian Benstock, Vice President and General Manager with the Paragon Auto Group, Tom Peyton, AVP Advertising and Marketing with American Honda Motor Co., Sean Wolfington, the Owner of Tier 10 Marketing & Auto Amigo, and was moderated by Paul Sellers, the Vice President or Automotive, Univision Communications, Inc.
With the continued growth of the Hispanic community, the belief that many marketing tools and services would somehow need to be specifically created in order to cater to the cultural differences between Hispanics and the general American culture hasn’t proven correct.
“Hispanics like [good cars] because they’re good cars. Cars don’t speak Spanish, they drive,” says Benstock ironically.
Authenticity is important when wanting to market to the Hispanic community, but the notion that many of the traditional advertising tools fail to service the Hispanic community isn’t accurate. It’s not the tools but the approach. Hispanic media markets, celebrity figures and cultural events have shown to be very effective ways to market to the community and be very successful in targeting this demographic.
Report by: Brjden CreweThis article was is part of our series on the J.D. Power 2012 Automotive Marketing Roundtable. Check out www.allvoices.com/users/jdpower for more of Allvoices' coverage of this event.