LONDON - Europe's carmakers and importers spent $5.2 billion last year advertising their vehicles in the five main markets, according to new advertising industry figures compiled by Automotive News Europe. This was an increase of 6.5 percent over 1997.
Renault was by far the biggest spender, dominating in France and Spain. Renault increased its overall budget by a modest 1.1 percent to $603.6 million across the region,
'We had a large number of new models to establish in the market in 1998, while we also needed to communicate major changes in models such as Clio and Laguna,' said a Renault spokesman. 'Advertising reinforces the message behind such models as Scenic, where it is important to build a new brand name and raise awareness.'
GM was No. 2. It boosted its media spending by over 10 percent to lead in Germany, and raised its UK spend by more than 33 percent to support its Vauxhall brand. GM's total spend was $470.3 million. Ford, in third place, spent $425.5 million, a rise of 2.8 percent across Europe.
'Ford is building a global positioning for the Blue Oval,' said Ian Twinley, manager of European communications and training. 'Our marketing plans concentrate on brand-building actions which support our brands' unique attributes and what Ford stands for.
'To help us deliver this approach, we have been increasing the consistency of our advertising in Europe across all models, both in terms of messages and positions,' he said. 'This can clearly be seen in the pan-European campaigns for Focus, Puma and Cougar.'
Europe's biggest car market was also well ahead of others in advertising budget terms, although the total spend of $1.5 billion was only slightly ahead of 1997.
Television became the auto industry's favored medium with a total investment of $470 million, moving it ahead of both daily press ($457 million) and magazines ($439 million).
But VW went against the trend by making a one-third cut in its television campaigning, as well as its total advertising budget. However, VW put more into magazine and roadside poster exposure than any other manufacturer. Ford was the top spender on radio, which attracted $86 million from the industry. No carmaker used German cinema.
The auto industry's total spend was up 8.4 percent to $1.1 billion. Combined print advertising carried the industry's main thrust, with $545 million spent in newspapers and magazines - a $17.5 million increase.
Vauxhall had almost double Ford's print budget.
Television campaigns cost $483 million, an increase of $65 million over 1997. Ford was the top television advertiser, spending over $72 million.
Spending at the roadside and on radio both increased, with Renault using these media far more than any other manufacturer. Cinema attracted $6 million from seven brands, with Vauxhall accounting for nearly half.
The total spend on advertising was $1.1 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent - almost twice UK figures.
With $396 million, television stayed ahead of print, which totalled $355 million. Renault spent $85 million on television campaigns, far more than Citroen ($61 million) or Peugeot ($53 million).
Renault also spent more with the press ($53 million), on radio ($37 million) and in the cinemas ($4.6 million) than any other carmaker.
But Ford topped French poster campaigns with a $32.5 million spend against Renault's $25 million.
Italy saw the greatest advertising growth across the five main European markets with a 19 percent boost to $811 million.
Television was by far the most attractive medium, with TV campaigns totaling $394 million. Fiat spent nearly $60 million on television. Its nearest challengers in this medium were Renault and Opel, who both spent $35 million.
The newspaper spend of $268 million was again dominated by Fiat ($31 million), though Renault was not far behind ($28 million).
Magazine motor advertising totaled $75 million. Renault's $10 million in the medium was double the nearest challengers - Volvo with $5.8 million and Alfa Romeo with $5.3 million.
Radio cost $55 million, with Ford and Nissan the biggest users.
Posters attracted $17.5 million, with Renault putting up $5 million.
No motor advertising money went into Italian cinemas.
The total auto industry advertising bill rose by just 1 percent to $681 million.
Television continued to prove vastly more attractive than any other medium, with a total auto spend of $422 million. Renault accounted for $58 million, with Citroen the closest competitor at $39 million.
Daily press advertising totaled $172 million, with Ford, Opel and Renault putting in the most effort.
Magazines were at $47 million, with Renault the top spender at $4.5 million. Radio advertising cost $19.5 million, with Peugeot accounting for nearly half.
Roadside displays, led by Renault, totaled $16.3 million.
Cinema advertising totaled $4.2 million. Ford, Audi and Peugeot were the top spenders.