Auto advertising in Europe's five biggest markets climbed 13.2 percent to nearly $4 billion in 1999, according to ACNielsen.
All the major brands with the exception of Citroen, Honda and Mercedes-Benz increased their advertising budgets.
Spurred by the launch of its León hatchback and ambitions to become Spain's answer to Alfa Romeo, Seat was Europe's most aggressive auto advertiser. It increased its budget by 43.6 percent, to $107.7 million.
Renault maintained its position as Europe's No.1 auto advertiser, spending $449.6 million - 11.6 percent more than in 1998. Renault was comfortably ahead if its nearest rival GM, which invested $346.4 million via Opel on the European Continent and Vauxhall in the UK.
Here is a look at advertising spending patterns in Europe during last year:
The total advertising spend in Germany last year grew by 9.9 percent to $1.25 billion, confirming its position as Europe's No.1 automotive advertising market.
Television advertising rose by 37 percent to $446.7 million, radio increased by 15 percent to $47.7 million, and magazines grew by 4 percent to $375.6 million.
But both newspaper and outdoor advertising - such as billboards - declined. Newspaper advertising dropped 7 percent to $344.5 million, and outdoor advertising fell 12 percent to $17 million.
GM's Opel was the top television advertiser, investing a total of $62.65 million - up 26 percent. Volkswagen was close behind with $58.3 million (+63 percent).
Seat raised its budget the most, by 32 percent to $21.8 million. The Spanish marque funneled almost $10 million into television campaigns - an increase of more than 3,500 percent. But it cut its newspaper, magazine, radio and outdoor advertising budgets sharply.
Mercedes-Benz and BMW both cut their budgets in their home market. Honda slashed its spending by 80 percent.
There was minimal spending on cinema advertising in Germany.
The UK was Europe's second biggest advertising market with a total media outlay of $859.6 million - up more than 8 percent.
Television advertising led with nearly $363.5 million in revenue (+3 percent). Newspaper spending was up marginally at $258.2 million.
The biggest growth was in cinema advertising, which climbed 163 percent to just over $14 million. Peugeot and Ford dominated big-screen advertising in the UK, with campaigns totalling $5.9 million and $3.5 million respectively.
No media declined in the UK, with outdoor advertising, magazines and radio also registering double-digit increases.
Renault was the No.1 spender with an $88.9 million budget (+9 percent). GM's Vauxhall unit was second, despite cutting its budget by 7 percent to $75.1 million. Ford was just behind in third with $72.2 million (+17 percent).
The biggest growth in the market again came from Seat. It upped its advertising budget 40 percent, to $7.1 million. The bulk went into television and newspapers.
Spending in France rose 17 percent to $729 million last year. Television dominated, with campaigns totaling $334.9 million - up 19 percent of 1998. But there was major print spending as well. Magazines climbed 25 percent to $169.2 million, and newspapers increased 39 percent to $45.75 million.
Auto advertising almost doubled in French cinemas, fueled by major campaigns from Renault, Peugeot and Nissan. The total spend was $4.4 million.
Renault, Peugeot and Citroen all invested aggressively in their home market. But Renault's $128 million budget (+15 percent) was by far the biggest. Peugeot spent $84.3 million (+6 percent) and Citroen $73.6 million (+4 percent).
Toyota raised its spend by 72 percent, to $33.2 million. Just under a third went into television. Fiat invested $42.2 million - 44 percent more than in 1998.
Volkswagen prioritized radio and outdoor advertising in France. The German carmaker cut back on its television, newspaper and magazine campaigns to spend $3.6 million on radio (+64 percent) and almost $6 million on outdoor advertising (+358 percent).
Italian advertising rose 19.6 percent to $622.3 million - the fastest growth of any major country in Europe. Television was by far the most popular medium, with budgets totalling $313.3 million - 5 percent more than in 1998. Radio advertising saw significant growth - it was up 139 percent to $13.8 million. Newspapers climbed 44 percent to $210.5 million.
Magazines and outdoor advertising also registered healthy increases, but - like Germany - there was negligible cinema spending.
Under increasing pressure from import rivals, Fiat was the dominant spender. It spent $81 million - 17 percent up on 1998, and $17.3 million more than nearest rival Renault.
With the exceptions of Citroen, Nissan and Honda, all the major auto brands increased their Italian advertising budgets.
Spending rose 14.5 percent to $497 million. Television remained the favorite medium, accounting for $325.8 million (+13 percent) - nearly two-thirds of the total auto advertising expenditure.
The biggest growth was in cinema advertising - it climbed 82 percent to $3.6 million thanks to major spends from Renault, Ford, Peugeot, Nissan and BMW.
Substantial outdoor campaigns from Fiat, Nissan and Seat offset cutbacks elsewhere. Total outdoor advertising increased by 22 percent to $10.1 million.
Renault was the top overall advertiser in Spain, spending $55.4 million - on a par with 1998 levels. Rover almost doubled its budget, to $14.7 million. Seat confirmed its position as Europe's most upfront auto advertiser in 1999, spending $37.3 million (+53 percent) in its home market.