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The not so general - general market: an analysis of the Euro-American automotive share

10 November 2011 Marc Bland

As the Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Polk, my peers and I often discuss multicultural marketing, primarily focusing on the growing importance of effectively reaching the African American (AA), Asian (AS) and Hispanic (HS) ethnic groups with relevant, automotive-related messaging. In the process, the non-AA, AS & HS community is often referred to as the "General Market." After doing some research, I found the General Market to be as culturally rich and diverse as the aforementioned groups. The majority of the General Market in America has roots in either Eastern or Western Europe and thus, I've decided to refer to this ethnic community as "Euro-Americans."

From an automotive consumer standpoint, Euro-Americans represent 71.2% of America's 6,496,066 new vehicle sales year to date through August 2011. This figure represents a mere .2% increase from the same period last year. Within the Euro-American community, the representatives with roots back to Western Europe (England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, etc.) represent the lion's share of the new vehicle purchases at a rate of 20:1 compared to their Eastern Europe brethren with Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovakian, Ukrainian, etc. roots. Euro-Americans with ties to England, Germany and Ireland lead the way with respect to U.S. new vehicle purchases - 42 out of every 100 Euro-American vehicle purchases come from a member of the English community. See the market share chart below for more details.

Euro-American Automotive Share

Although the primary language within the Euro-American community is English, there is still evidence of language diversity as many speak multiple languages including German, Italian, French, Polish, Russian, Greek, Gaelic (Scottish) and Svenska (Swedish) to name a few. The Euro-American vehicle preferences are similar to their language backgrounds. The table below represents the Top 5 vehicles for each of the Top 10 Euro-American communities based on volume purchased. Just like most of the group speaks English, eight out of 10 selected the Ford F-Series pickup as their No.1 vehicle with the Chevrolet Silverado pickup as their No.2 vehicle. The key word here is "most" as the Italians chose the Hyundai Sonata No.1 and the Honda Accord No.2 and the Polish chose the Chevrolet Cruze No.1 followed by the Ford F-Series as their No.2. Although there was some consistency at the top, when it came to vehicles ranked No.3-5, there was variety across the ranks. For instance, when we look at No.3-5 selections we have to include four additional models in the mix in addition to the Cruze including: Honda CR-V, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Equinox and the Ford Escape.

Top5 Model Rank by Ethnic Group (Based on Volume)

I hope the information above enlightens all of the readers to the level of diversity that exists within the group the industry so often refers to as the "General Market" and confirms my belief that "There is nothing General about the General Market" or who I fondly refer to as Euro-Americans. I look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts as I would love to learn more from each of you.

Posted by Marc Bland, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Polk (11.10.2011)

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