Media spending by automakers totaled $10.46 billion in 2005, down 0.85 percent from 2004, Advertising Age reported in its annual ranking of top megabrands.
Most of the spending cutbacks by automakers occurred in TV commercials and consumer magazine advertising.
The 31 automotive megabrands in Advertising Age's top 200 cut spending on TV commercials by 15 percent, to $2.26 billion last year. Some of that reduced spending is attributed to a shift of advertising money from automakers to their regional auto associations, which are not part of the compilation of megabrands.
Conversely, autos pumped up Internet spending last year by 16.9 percent, to $253 million, and network cable by 14.6 percent, to $1.15 billion.
Automakers put $1.93 billion into consumer magazines, making the industry the volume leader for that category. But the 2005 outlay was down 4.5 percent in a medium that is growing.
Ford Motor Co.'s $216 million in magazine ad spending led the auto megabrands, although that spending was off 21.2 percent from 2004.
Overall, telecommunication giants Verizon, Cingular and Sprint held the top three spots in Advertising Age's ranking, spending a combined $4 billion last year.
Like Automotive News, Advertising Age is owned by Crain Communications Inc.