In the Alamo City, stories of Davy Crockett and historic cries of “Remember the Alamo” can be heard in the streets. More recently, championship runs by the San Antonio Spurs have inspired raucous crowds to chants of “Go Spurs Go!”
And while it may be difficult to hear the soft, purring engines of top flight import brands as they roll through the city streets, It’s clear that the competition is intense and that it’s anything except business as usual in San Antonio.
Competition is especially fierce among the city’s top selling vehicles: the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima and the Toyota Camry.
As the battle for vehicle sales grows, so too does the budget that dealers have to spend to capture new customers. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, “Dealerships… spent on average $616 dollars on advertising per each new car sold.” Based on that estimate and a solid sales year in 2015, more than $6.2 million dollars was funneled into San Antonio automotive advertising. A similar number is expected for 2016 according to industry pundits.
Among the major competitors for market share, the San Antonio Honda Dealers (Benson Honda, Fernandez Honda, Gillman Honda, and Gunn Honda) decided to up the ante in an effort to increase market share, online impression share and television share of voice.
“We knew the best odds of growing our Honda sales involved getting in front of more customers more frequently,” noted Adam Claiborne, President of San Antonio Honda Dealers Ad Association and General Manager of Fernandez Honda in San Antonio. “Our product is top notch and speaks for itself. We simply needed to be in front of our prospective customers more frequently.”
Initial meetings with the San Antonio Honda Dealers Ad Association yielded an increased financial commitment and clarity around core objectives. The message that emerged from meetings with the dealers and the manufacturer were clear: increase visibility for and sales of Hondas across the San Antonio DMA on digital and traditional platforms, with an emphasis on growing the market share for the Accord and Civic today, and ultimately the Ridgeline down the line.
Initial campaigns launched in conjunction with Honda’s model year-end and calendar year-end sales event. With a strategic combination of traditional, digital and integrated platforms, the “secret sauce” of the strategy included placement timing, frequency and messaging caps, as well as delivery fashioned by not one, but two advertising agencies.
Claiborne allowed, “We wanted to be out in front without being over the top. As a group of dealers we are very much part of the community and want to continue to be the trusted resource for consumers.”
The period between August and February saw impressive gains for the San Antonio Honda dealers.
The group’s goal of increasing overall sales as well as market share for the Accord and Civic were realized. During a 6-month window, the Accord gained 2.8 percentage points in market share while the Civic grew 1.5 percentage points. In a world where manufacturers battle for tenths of a point, the quick climb of more than 280 basis point in key categories came as a result of customer focused efforts and wasn’t lost on dealers.
“We’re excited about the increase in Honda sales across San Antonio,” said Claiborne. “Reaching the right consumers at the right time maximized our sales efforts and helped consumers experience the Honda product and process. I’m confident in our program and look forward to supporting customers and continuing our growth in the coming months.”
Meanwhile back at the ranch and decidedly on the near term horizon, the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline gets ready to take on the San Antonio produced Toyota Tacoma as well as a bevy of Nissan truck products like the Nissan Frontier. With the Ridgeline arriving at dealerships this fall more satisfied customers and additional market share acquisition in San Antonio seems inevitable.