DETROIT -- The Honda Civic was the best-selling vehicle among ethnic consumers for the 2017 model year, the second consecutive year the brand has taken that title. The Honda Accord was the leader among minority buyers for 2016.
IHS Markit and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers recognized the Civic as the "top overall ethnic vehicle" during the Diversity Volume Leadership Awards here on Sunday, Jan. 14. The awards also break down industry leaders by region, gender, age and -- in a new category this year -- sexual orientation.
The Ford F-series pickup was the overall volume leader in the new LGBT category, while the Buick Encore took the top spot on the luxury side among LGBT consumers.
"That community is so much more aligned with the mainstream. They own homes. They have kids. They like to remodel their homes," Marc Bland, vice president of diversity and inclusion for IHS Markit, told Automotive News.
"Manufacturers support these Pride festivals and spend lots of money, but they're not taking the right vehicles. They're still caught in this mindset that LGBT means ultra-affluent, which is not true anymore," he said.
The Toyota RAV4 maintained its volume leadership status in the New England region while moving into the top spot in the Plains and Rocky Mountain regions. Bland said it was noteworthy to see the RAV4 bump the F series from its post in the Rocky Mountains while moving past Ram and Chevrolet Silverado pickups -- which finished second and third in the region for the 2016 model year.
But Honda made its mark, too. In addition to the brand grabbing overall ethnic volume leader honors, the Civic became the Hispanic volume leader -- swiping that spot from the Toyota Corolla.
Bland said brands that want to improve on their performance have to study the data and understand their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
“The first thing is to look at the data and see where the low-hanging fruit is. Two, they have to be willing to invest and execute. Three, they have to have the personnel that have diversity as part of their job description, so they can own this and focus on it,” Bland said. “You as a brand can’t be passive when your competitors are dedicated and focused.”