Commentary

Why Hispanics Are The Future Of The Auto Industry

The future of the auto industry is largely in Hispanic hands. The number of cars purchased by U.S. Hispanics is projected to double in the period between 2010 and 2020. Not only that, a large portion of the future growth of the auto industry is expected to come as the result of more Hispanics buying vehicles. In fact, it’s estimated that new car sales to Hispanics will grow by 8% over the next five years, compared to a 2% decline amongst the total market, according to Univision. 

What’s fueling this growth? One important factor has been the fact that income levels among U.S. Hispanics have been steadily rising over the past few years. In 2016 alone, Hispanic incomes rose by 4.3%, the second-highest rate among all demographics — which has no doubt increased their willingness to spend money on big ticket items such as automobiles. In addition, Hispanics are a young generation, and could therefore potentially buy more cars over the course of their lifetime than other demographics.

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But knowing that Hispanics are more likely to buy cars than other audiences and actually selling cars to Hispanics are two different things. What, then, should brands be doing in order to maximize their appeal to Hispanic consumers?

Most of all, it has to be recognized that Hispanics are heavily engaged on digital platforms as well as avid consumers of content. For example, almost half of the website traffic to Spanish-language auto websites is organic, which means that Hispanic consumers take the initiative to do research on various brands. Car companies that actively consider and engage with this audience will ensure brand loyalty and more effective campaigns.

It’s no surprise, then, to see that auto companies are increasing their spending for U.S. Hispanic advertising. For instance, Ford launched a campaign last year for its new F-150 pickup truck that focused specifically on finding “everyday heroes in Hispanic communities.” Instead of just creating a series of television ads, Ford and its creative partners decided to make a video series that highlighted the achievements of individuals who contributed to their communities while also overcoming personal difficulties. This series of branded content was exclusively available on social media, garnering over 1.78 million views and 6.6 million social impressions within the first nine weeks alone, according to Univsion.

Honda and Mazda have also honed in on using digital channels to reach out to Hispanic consumers, but while the latter is focusing primarily on educating consumers about the brand, the former has taken a more cultural approach by aligning itself with certain values and behaviors of Hispanic consumers, much like Ford. This shows that engaging consumers on an emotional level can be just as, if not more, important as talking about the merits of a particular model. 

Research shows that a vast majority—79%—of Hispanics are more receptive to auto ads when those ads are reflective of their culture in some way. This includes ads or initiatives that involve Spanish-language content, as well as those that speak to the deeper values of the Hispanic community. With the Ford campaign, for instance, it resonated so strongly because it zeroed in on the ideas of community and overcoming one’s obstacles, both of which are very important to the Hispanic audience.

There’s no better way to build trust with this audience than to show that you truly understand not only the language that they speak, but also the values they uphold. The auto industry is setting an example that all brands would do well to follow.

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