NEW TITLE GATHERING SPEED WITH ADVERTISERS:CAR MAGAZINE IS FIRST TO TARGET BLACKS

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African Americans on Wheels, billing itself as the first auto enthusiast magazine for black consumers, is picking up growing support from auto advertisers searching for targeted marketing opportunities.

Published by Washington-based On Wheels since July 1995, the quarterly is inserted into 30 black newspapers with a combined circulation of 500,000, such as the Chicago Defender, Michigan Chronicle, Pittsburgh Courier and the New York Amsterdam News.

Randi Payton, publisher and editor in chief, said plans are to continue the quarterly insert while adding a monthly issue that will be available by subscription and on newsstands by mid-1997.

The magazine also is on the World Wide Web (http://www.automag.com).

FORD, GM SIGN ON

The most recent edition of African Americans on Wheels, delivered in February, carried spreads from Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Taurus and General Motors Corp.'s GMC Jimmy. Also included were page ads from GM's Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Delphi Automotive Systems; Chrysler Corp.'s Chrysler brand; and import luxury car marketers BMW of North America and Jaguar Cars.

A color page is $15,000.

"We see the African-American market as one of great opportunity, and one that has not been targeted particularly well in the past," said Christine MacKenzie, Chrysler's manager-corporate advertising.

Prior to the startup of the magazine, Mr. Payton wrote a syndicated auto column for black newspapers.

Auto industry studies show black consumers represent at least 11% of new vehicle sales.

While product reviews and some other editorial content are general in nature, other articles deal with specifically black automotive experiences.

In the most recent issue, there is a column advising black drivers how to react to being pulled over by police officers, written by Warren Brown, who also writes the weekly Weekend on Wheels column for The Washington Post.

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