U.S.-based automakers trail Asia-based makers when it comes to courting Chinese-American car buyers in San Francisco.
Chinese-Americans in the San Francisco area prefer Toyota and Honda by a wide margin, according to a study conducted by Interviewing Services of America of Los Angeles for KTSF-TV in San Francisco.
The survey, which used a random sample of 500 Chinese-Americans in a 10-county area around San Francisco, looked at preferences of this demographic group ranging from voting patterns to language to car ownership.
Among respondents, 38 percent owned a Toyota and 19 percent had a Honda. Nissan, Ford and BMW lagged behind with a 4 percent ownership rate.
General Motors claimed only 1 percent of the respondents, despite efforts to woo Asian buyers in the West. Last year, GM named Pat Roberts as its first regional diversity manager, overseeing the Western region, with an emphasis on improving sales to Hispanics and Asians. GM also tapped Innovasia Communications of Los Angeles, an Asian-owned ad agency, to lure Asian buyers.
'Usually in the U.S. we go into markets with one language,' Roberts said at the time. 'Now we are developing a strategy to use Spanish to reach Hispanics and to use Chinese and Korean in L.A. and San Francisco.'
The survey found that 89 percent of the respondents either own or lease a vehicle; 73 percent of the vehicles were purchased new; 22 percent of the participants plan to buy a new vehicle over the next year; and the majority plan to purchase rather than lease.
The study also indicated that even though the respondents have lived in this country an average of 14 years, the majority preferred using their native language.