Cars.com conducted the poll by asking readers of last month's DealerADvantage newsletter to report their advertising plans for the upcoming year. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they planned to increase their online spending next year, while 20% will maintain their current 2006 level and 18% plan to decrease online spending.
The survey could mean good news for companies hurt by automotive ad slowdowns--including Yahoo, which reported in September that ad growth had slowed, in part because of decreased automotive ad spending. Digital agencies like aQuantive's Avenue A/Razorfish and Digitas also face potential revenue challenges if there is a sustained auto ad slowdown, according to a recent Merrill Lynch report. Some auto dealers aren't waiting for 2007 to make their moves online. The Van Tuyl dealer group, a 10-state dealership franchise, last week signed a deal with lead generation service Autobytel to receive online referrals from Autobytel.com in the ZIP codes the site does not yet have covered.