General Motors will target the top 25 metro areas in the United States this year as it seeks to boost market share for the third straight year.
The emphasis is linked to GM's diversity marketing efforts because many minority buyers live in big cities, said John Smith, group vice president for vehicle sales, service and marketing, at the NADA convention.
Getting a 2 percent market-share increase in 2003 among blacks, Hispanics and Asian Americans will be a key part of GM's overall market-share strategy, he said.
Smith said GM hopes to reverse its long-standing share pattern in which it is strongest in small towns, does fairly well in mid-sized markets, and has a low share in big cities.
Smith said GM's share is the least strong in the 25 largest cities. "If we average out at 28.3 (percent market share), the top 25 cities tend to be below that, so the top 25 is for us a way to concentrate our scarce resources to try to drive share," he said.
In addition, 60 percent to 65 percent of the diversity customers that GM is targeting live in large cities, he said. GM's market share among Asians and Hispanics is below its national average, although its share of blacks exceeds its national share.
"Another way we see ourselves increasing share over time is to concentrate our resources on diversity markets," Smith said. "We'll probably be concentrating more resources on those cities for those two reasons. One, our share tends to be low, and two, that's where a lot of the diversity audience is."
John Middlebrook, vice president for vehicle brand marketing and corporate advertising, said advertising in Spanish and Asian languages will be a significant part of the top 25 markets effort.
Middlebrook said test projects in 2002 encouraged GM to go after minority buyers: "We found that with some concentrated effort we could increase share, so we're going to go at it much more aggressively."