Research shows marketing opportunity among African-American new car buyers

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    At the recent Rainbow PUSH Tenth Annual Automotive Symposium held in Detroit, industry executives engaged in a series of panel discussions that examined how the economy affected African-Americans’ roles as customers, dealers and suppliers.

    A presentation of new research data showed African-Americans — even during the severe economic recession — were contributing significantly to the auto industry’s recovery with their purchases of new vehicles.

    According to statistics presented by Marc Bland, Manager of the Analytical Solutions unit of R.L. Polk & Company, African-Americans purchased more than 320,000 new cars between January and July of this year. This represents 7.1 percent of all new cars bought.

    In 2007, according to Polk research, African-Americans bought 626,905 new cars or nearly nine percent of all the new cars purchased that year. In 2008 the number dropped to 520,993 vehicles or eight percent of the total of all new cars.

    The data from Polk also showed that Toyota had 48,680 African-American new car buyers for the first seven months of this year – the most of all auto brands. Ford’s Lincoln division had the largest percentage of African-Americans (10%) among all of its buyers during the same period.

    Overall, personal new vehicle registrations declined nearly 10.4 percent in 2008, and fell an additional 30.6 percent so far in 2009. African American new vehicle purchases posted declines of 16.9 percent in 2008 and 38.5 percent in 2009.