After the initial boost of new car sales generated by this past summer’s 1210839_carCash-for-Clunkers program, U.S. auto manufacturers and dealerships will be looking for the best way to keep cars moving off the lot. Despite profit pressures, industry analysts believe manufacturers and dealers will continue to advertise. According to Cameron McNaughton, “[c]ar companies still have among the largest advertising/marketing budgets in the industry.”

A recent Advertising Age column targeting agencies discusses the importance of landing a large auto account. Once an agency gets the account through the door, it can look forward to possibly increasing billing through regional dealer ads or making TV media buys. Another point made by writer Jean Halliday is that auto accounts can quickly come and go from agencies depending on company management and the general economic climate. Currently everyone from VW to Chrysler is shopping their account and looking for the agency who can rev up sales.

As auto manufacturers  seek new and creative ways to reach buyers they may seriously consider pitches from smaller or unproven agencies that can demonstrate expertise with online or social media. In any case, auto companies need to increase sales and, going forward, will be looking to spend their ad budgets differently.

[Source: Halliday, Jean. Which to Pitch? Ad Age’s Auto-Account Guide, Advertising Age, 9.28.09]