Automotive National TV Spending Down 9.1% Year-Over-Year

Automotive year-to-date estimated national TV spending is down 9.1% year-over-year after falling another 1.9% in March. 

Household TV ad impressions of automotive ads is also down 11.4% in March and 9.4% year-over-year, according to

National TV spending in March by automakers was $214 million compared to $218.2 million last March. Year-to-date estimated national TV spending was $699.1 million compared to $769 million for the same period in 2023. 

Household TV ad impressions of automotive ads in March were 23.6 billion compared to 26.6 billion in March of last year. Year-to-date household TV ad impressions were 66.7 billion compared to 73.5 billion for the same period in 2023, per 

The top five brands by estimated national TV Ad spending in March were GMC ($35 million), Nissan ($26.1 million), Ford ($18.9 million), Buick ($17.6 million) and Jeep ($11.4 million).



The most-seen automaker ads by share of household TV ad impressions in March 2024 were Hyundai, "Add More Joy" (5.55%); Jeep, "Room for the Unexpected" (2.57%); Subaru, "What the Future Holds" (2.25%);  Ram Trucks, "Do Trucks" (2.18%) and GMC: "THE Truck" (2.16%), according to

Over half of the total automotive industry TV ad spend during March went to men’s college basketball, with all of the top five brands advertising during games across the month. Industry spend was up 18% year-over-year for men’s college basketball, and spend during women’s college games also increased by 8.7% compared to March 2023. 

“Basketball’s TV ad reach typically scores for automakers in the spring, but we’re seeing more focus on the women’s game as well over the last few years as those audiences skyrocket,” Stuart Schwartzapfel, executive vice president, media partnerships at iSpot tells Marketing Daily. “TV ad impressions more than doubled during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament year-over-year -- and automotive marketers were smart to get ahead of that growing interest.”

Nissan upped its outlay for college basketball, increasing spend during men’s games by 7.7% year-over-year and on women’s games by 14.7% vs. March 2023 -- but also went after the late-night crowd, increasing investment during “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” by nearly 24X year-over-year, per

Buick also targeted basketball action: 93% of its total spend for the month was allocated to men’s college basketball, but it also saw a 12.5X increase in spend during NBA games compared to March 2023. 

While Jeep grew its spend on men’s college basketball by 26.4% year-over-year, it also upped outlay on Today (+35.4%), “Vanderpump Rules” (+126.3%) and “CBS Saturday Morning” (+631.6%), according to

The top five brands by share of automaker household TV ad impressions, March 2024 were Toyota (8.46%), Nissan (7.90%), Ford (7.30%), Hyundai (6.36%) and Honda (5.91%).

The biggest estimated spend increases among top 15 brands by spend, March 2024 (vs. March 2023) were Land Rover (+821.3%), Ford (+606.6%), Toyota (+64.9%), GMC (+57.3%) and Subaru (+24.4%), per

Men’s college basketball fueled much of the growth for automakers with the biggest year-over-year spend increases, in particular for Ford (which didn’t advertise during games in March 2023, but this year spent 82% of its budget there) and Land Rover (+15.6X increase in spend year-over-year). Subaru grew its men’s basketball outlay by 265%, with GMC and Toyota seeing more modest increases (59% and 32%, respectively). 

Land Rover also placed a focus on general entertainment programming, spending on “House Hunters” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” — two programs it did not advertise during in March 2023. 

For Toyota, “Ridiculousness” was a new target, ranking third among programs by spend for the month (behind NASCAR and NBA); the automaker did not advertise during the show in March 2023. Subaru doubled down on morning news programming, increasing outlay by over 2X for both “Good Morning America” and “Today” year-over-year. 

Outside of sports, shows with some of the biggest year-over-year TV ad impressions increases for automakers included “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (+258.8% vs. March 2023), “La Casa de los Famosos” (+183.5%) and “American Idol” (+93.7%). 

The top networks for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions in  March were CBS (14.51%), ABC (6.97%), ESPN (5.49%), NBC (4.97%) and TNT (3.73%).

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