Hispanic population in the U.S. surges – what about in the new vehicle market?

29 Mar 2011 Tom Libby

New 2010 Census Bureau data released March 24 includes the fact that there are now 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S., a record-setting level and one-sixth of the total U.S. population. Also, Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population growth during the past decade.

These data beg the question of whether there has been similar growth in Hispanic new vehicle purchases in this country. The answer is, "No." The percentage of new vehicle buyers in the U.S. who are Hispanic has actually declined 1.5 percentage points from 2006 to 7.1% in 2010. And, only two makes, Ferrari and Buick, enjoyed a growth of one percentage point or more in Hispanic buyer mix. Aside from those two makes and three others that exhibited even smaller increases, every other make in the industry suffered a decline in percentage of Hispanics from 2006 to 2010.

A look at a list of the 10 makes with the highest volume of Hispanic buyers suggests at first glance that these makes are similar to those with the greatest number of new vehicle buyers, regardless of ethnicity. But a closer look shows that the domestics lag behind their Asian rivals in appealing to Hispanics. Chevrolet and Ford each have less than half the number of Hispanic buyers when compared to Toyota, a far lower ratio than their industry-wide positions. And Honda and Nissan both have more Hispanic buyers than either Chevrolet or Ford, while industry-wide the opposite is the case.

Top Ten Makes for 2010 Calendar Year

Lastly, the 10 makes with the highest percentage of Hispanic buyers are all Asian or European.

These new vehicle data suggest there is a large opportunity for all makes - particularly the domestics - to capture additional new vehicle business if they can effectively appeal to the surging Hispanic population.

Posted by Tom Libby, PolkInsight Advisor, Polk (03.29.2011)


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