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Advertising spending for the automotive industry in 2006 declined 1% to $13.5 billion, with gains for spot TV (4%), network TV (3%), and spot Radio (8%), according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Nearly 80% ($10.5 billion) of automotive advertising in 2006 was placed on television, and 11% ($1.45 billion) was spent in national magazines.

Budgets in local newspapers were cut 41% ($243 million); national magazines lost 10% ($165 million) of automotive advertising; and cable TV advertising dropped 9% ($151.4 million).

These declines contributed to an overall reduction in ad spending of $197 million.

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Advertising for local automotive dealerships also declined in 2006. Dealerships spent $4.8 billion in advertising in 2006, 4% less than in 2005 ($176 million).

The majority of dealer spending was in local newspapers: $3.2 billion. However, ad budgets for this medium dropped 10% ($360 million) from 2005 levels. Spot TV, the second-largest medium, rose 7% ($62 million) to just over $1 billion in 2006. Spot radio showed significant growth (31% or $114 million), reaching $477 million.

Top Auto Advertisers

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The Top 10 automotive advertisers spent $12.7 billion in 2006, down 1% from 2005. Half of the advertisers raised budgets, while half reduced them.

General Motors remained the top advertiser, with $2.8 billion in spending – down 10% from 2005. Hyundai had the greatest percentage increase in ad dollars (22%), spending $609 million.

Advertising by Program Type

Automotive companies placed the most advertising dollars in general drama programs ($1.92 billion), up 3% from 2005. General news programs followed with $1.88 billion, a decrease of 4%.

Quiz shows increased 16%, to $283 million, with the top three shows accounting for $221 million: Wheel of Fortune, $125.2 million; Jeopardy, $75.8 million; Deal or No Deal, $20.3 million.

Product Placement

The top 10 automotive brands had 2,359 brand occurrences on network television in 2006. Chevrolet trucks accounted for 470 placements, followed by Toyota trucks and Mercedes-Benz autos, with 294 placements each.

The top 10 programs on network TV that featured automotive product placements accounted for 2,281 occurrences in 2006. Amazing Race was the top program, with 513 placements. Six of the top 10 programs were on CBS.

New Brands

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$1.16 billion was spent by all auto brands that had advertising activity in 2006 but not in the prior year. Collectively, the top 10 brands spent $721 million.

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