Automakers are selling more cars and trucks but spending less per vehicle on advertising and incentives.
Car companies spent an average of $630 to advertise each new vehicle they sold last year, according to an Advertising Age analysis. That figure dropped from a record $645 in 2004.
Average spending on factory incentives fell by $63 in 2005, to $2,539 per vehicle. Incentives include cash rebates to buyers or dealers, subsidized leases and low-interest loans.
Combined advertising and incentive spending per new vehicle in 2005 dropped 2.4 percent to $3,169, down $78.
Ford Motor Co., General Motors and American Honda Motor Co. Inc. all spent more advertising dollars per vehicle sale in 2005 than they did the year before. By contrast, DaimlerChrysler AG, Nissan North America Inc. and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. spent less.
Toyota, VW poles apart
Toyota was the most efficient marketer among major automakers, spending $473 on ads per vehicle sold. At the other end of the scale was Volkswagen of America Inc., which spent $1,365 per vehicle.
Car companies spent about $10.7 billion to advertise in U.S. media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. That total was down 1.8 percent - about $200 million - from 2004's record level. The figures do not include spending by local dealers and dealer associations.
Last year, incentive spending totaled $42.6 billion, according to Edmunds.com, an automotive Web site. That total was down $1.2 billion from 2004, Edmunds says.
Despite the decreased spending on marketing, automakers sold nearly 17 million new vehicles in the United States last year. That was about 81,000 more cars and trucks than in 2004.
Scion goes low
Toyota's youth-oriented Scion subbrand was the most efficient auto advertiser last year. It spent $284 on advertising per vehicle sold.