Radio plays an important role for the auto industry both in-dash and for sales. According to the Infinite Dial 2016, of those adults 18+ who had driven/ridden in a car in the past month cited AM/FM radio as their most used in-car device – specifically 84% general market Adults 18+, 80% African-Americans 18+, 79% Hispanics 18+ and 77% of Adults 18-34. When it comes to sales, radio is a steadfast component of auto sales.
For the past five years, radio’s share of U.S. auto dealers’ ad spend has remained consistently strong, while other traditional media have experienced extensive declines – especially when compared to spending in 2002.
As of mid-2016, automotive radio activity remains steady as a number of dealer associations increased their radio on-air spending over 2015 comps, based on data from Miller Kaplan Arase, LLP. Specifically, Chevrolet Dealer Association, Chrysler Jeep Dealer Association, Dodge Dealer Association and Mercedes-Benz Dealer groups, representing four of the top 10 auto spenders, upped their radio activity by 24%. It’s not just these associations and groups that depend on radio. CarMax, the largest pre-owned auto retailer, doubled its on-air presence over first-half 2015.
Despite shifts in media spending, these increases indicate one thing – automotive dealers appreciate and understand the role that radio plays. Radio is the connector to the community and local businesses – it’s the human element that you can’t find in other media as referenced in an early Automotive News article.
So what about radio’s role in the dash – that too is steady. Auto manufacturers do understand the important relationship between radio and its listeners as well as the entertainment that radio provides. In fact, Ford recently announced that it “remains committed to boosting the range and clarity of FM radio signals with dual radio reception systems, which use a second receiver and the rear-window heater grid as another antenna.” Why did they do this? It was based on feedback from dozens of “listeners over hundreds of hours.”