Volkswagen Group overtook PSA/Peugeot-Citroen to become the top automotive advertiser in Europe last year. VW's ambitious shared platform strategy has resulted in a glut of new cars from all four of the group's main brands: Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda.
Carmakers continue to be among the biggest advertisers of all manufacturing sectors. In a comprehensive all-sector survey of 1998 European advertising spend, VW and PSA were ranked fourth and fifth respectively behind Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestle.
The figures were compiled by Advertising Age International magazine - a sister publication of Automotive News Europe - for its annual Top Global Marketers survey.
The report estimated that VW spent $871.7 million advertising its brands in Europe in 1998 - 13.4 percent more than the previous year, when $768.9 million was spent.
PSA's European advertising spend grew 2.1 percent from $785.6 million in 1997 to $802.4 million last year, buoyed by the 206 launch.
Ford, Renault, DaimlerChrysler and Honda all increased their European advertising budgets last year. Renault's spend was up 14.9 percent to $632.3 million.
General Motors, Fiat, BMW and Toyota's 1998 European advertising spends all declined. Toyota experienced the greatest fall. Its investment dropped from $300.4 million in 1997 to $202.9 million last year. But Toyota spent heavily to promote the launch of the Avensis two years ago, and had no significant new-model launches in 1998.
Globally, VW was judged to be the No.1 marketer in international print titles.
VW was also the leading automotive advertiser outside the USA. Its 1998 spend of $1.07 billion was ahead of Ford ($1.05 billion), General Motors ($1.04 billion) and Toyota ($1.03 billion).