Takeaways for the Hispanic Market from the Auto Industry

Car Buying Has Unique Cultural Meaning, So Agencies Need to Study and Target Those Differences

By Published on .

J.D. Power and Associates drew more than 1,200 attendees to Las Vegas for a two-day conference on "Aligning Next Generation Marketing with Today's Digital Consumer." I was there Oct. 12 and 13 to moderate a first for this annual two-day event: A panel on growing your business with the Hispanic consumer.

I had never been to an automotive conference, so I was curious to see what people of this great American industry know or think about reaching the Latino market. Do they understand its special characteristics?

This year, according to data from Polk, Hispanics are projected to spend $18 billion on new vehicles. Even though that figure represents only 9% of total new-vehicle sales in the United States, Hispanic auto buyers will account for 24% of the growth in new-vehicle sales. That's mucho dinero.

I am happy to report that our auto-industry panelists, from Nissan and Ford, seem to know that those numbers can improve if they target their research and campaigns specifically at Hispanic behavior and values.

The Multicultural Marketing Manager for Ford, Dave Rodriguez, said that Ford is looking for ways to take its marketing efforts "to the next level."

The industry will need to keep in mind the lessons of a Univision study conducted in 2007 that showed clear cultural differences in the auto-purchasing process between Hispanics and non-Hispanics. We looked at a slide from that research showing, for example, that Latinos view purchasing a vehicle as a "family" event, an achievement to be proud of and celebrated, while the non-Hispanic buyer perceives the process as a "hassle" and more of a transaction.

Along these lines, panelists shared some key takeaways that can maybe help you with your marketing efforts:

  • Even if Hispanics already over-index with your brand, dedicated efforts to this consumer will pay off.

    Danielle Austen, Managing Partner and CEO of Team Ignition, Nissan's agency, showcased this concept with the Versa campaign "Innovacion a tu medida, Innovacion para todos," where the team shot original Spanish-language TV creative (as opposed to translating the English version). They also took their message to Latinos online and on-the-go with a strong mobile campaign.

  • Do your own research to gain a unique consumer insight and look for media partners that can help develop your ideas and deliver multiplatform results.

    Ford's agency, Zubi Advertising, represented by Isabella Sanchez, showcased this takeaway with the Ford "Focus Te da Más." The campaign uses multiple media platforms including TV, radio, digital, social media and PR, as well as live branded segments on a variety of highly-rated Spanish-language TV shows.

  • Keep in mind that access to the Internet via mobile will soon take over access to the Internet via desktop, so make mobile part of your Hispanic plan.

    My colleague at Univision, Charlie Echeverry, exec VP of interactive media sales, called attention to another important research finding : 43% of Hispanics (against 25% of non-Hispanics) used a mobile device to access the Internet among those planning to purchase a vehicle within 6 months.

Bottom line, if you want part of the $18 billion Latinos are going to spend this year buying new automobiles, marketing to Hispanics is a must do, not a nice-to-have

Chiqui Cartagena is VP-corporate marketing for Univision Communications Inc. She is also the author of Latino Boom!: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business in the U.S. Hispanic Market. Follow Chiqui on Twitter @chiquicartagena.
Most Popular
In this article: