Smaller Marketing Budgets for Automakers in 2009

Is the current financial crisis going to put the brakes on marketing and advertising in the auto industry? Highly unlikely, but still it's no surprising at all that more and more automakers are cutting down their budgets for the aforementioned domains.

According to The Advertising Age, most executives at the North American International Auto Show claimed they are reducing this year's marketing and advertising budget considerably.

Apparently, the most radical decision was taken by General Motors that hopes to sell cars this year without investing too much in advertising, claimed Mark LaNeve, VP-sales, service and marketing in North America. "We are not going to do anything because we did it for 20 years," he reported. Although GM has started the year with zero-budget for marketing, the Detroit automaker believes that their sales won't be affected by their lack of advertising.

Another car maker that seems to share the same opinion is another Detroit-based company, Ford Motor Co more exactly. According to Jim Farley, group VP-marketing and communications, the blue oval realized that its dealers stopped advertising, therefore, it started a co-op ad program so retailers could buy media, mostly in radio and newspapers.

And since we're talking about the Detroit Three, we couldn't leave aside Chrysler whose advertising plan for 2009 is to shift from a lot of national TV network to spot and give it more flexibility on timing, said Vice Chairman Jim Press.

Obviously, the competition is the one to benefit the most from the cutbacks of the Detroit Three. For instance, Mercedes Benz is planning to take advantage of their decision, but  it's going “to do more with less”, meaning that when it launches the next-generation E-Class later this year, the German luxury car maker will put the sedan and coupe in the same ads for marketing efficiency.

As always, there is at least one exception to the rule. Audi of America seems to strongly believe in the power of commercials since they are planning to raise the marketing budget by 15 percent this year.
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