Asian Brands Dominate Preference Among Hispanic Buyers in the U.S., According to Polk

Asian brands account for more than 60 percent of the Hispanic market; Toyota holds strong lead among demographic

Dec 15, 2010, 15:10 ET from Polk

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota, Honda and Nissan dominate new vehicle preferences among Hispanics in the U.S., according to Polk. The three companies account for 46.4 percent of the Hispanic market based on an analysis of new vehicle registrations for the first nine months of 2010.  Toyota leads the market by far with more than 20 percent share of the Hispanic market, and 46 percent greater volume in registrations than its next closest competitor.  Hyundai, Mazda and Kia are also included in the top 10 list based on registrations by volume to Hispanics (See Table A).  

Only three domestic automakers are in the top 10, according to Polk.  Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge represent a combined 21.2 percent of the Hispanic market.  European brands have mixed performance with Hispanics, led by Volkswagen, with 2.8 percent of the Hispanic market.  

Asian brands have grown in popularity among the Hispanic market over the past 10 years and many are growing their sales to Hispanics faster than sales to the overall population.  This is a significant development in the market.  Manufacturers have been engaging in increasingly important marketing programs geared specifically toward this audience, according to Polk.  

"Toyota, Honda and Nissan all have specific Hispanic marketing strategies and agencies that focus their marketing efforts to Hispanics," said Mark Pauze, senior solutions consultant at Polk. "Tracking sales to this growing demographic and their loyalty, coupled with a specific marketing strategy has an impact."

Hispanic Market Shows Most Significant Growth for Buick; European Brands Lagging

The Hispanic automotive market in the U.S. increased 6.5 percent during the first nine months of 2010, according to Polk, outpacing the overall U.S. auto market, which grew just four percent in the same time period.  

Hispanic purchases now account for 8.7 percent of the total U.S. vehicle market, up from 8.5 percent just a year ago.  Hispanics reached 10.6 percent of the market in 2006, but their share and volume decreased with the collapse of the automotive market in 2008.  The Hispanic market has been recovering more quickly than the overall market in 2010.  

Buick's sales to Hispanics increased 83 percent in the past year, according to Polk.  "Buick has focused on Hispanics because they prefer comfort and amenities in a family car at a reasonable price – a sweet spot for Buick.  Their attention to this market is paying off for them," said Pauze.  

Growth within this market is significantly higher than Buick's overall growth of 49.7 percent, and Chevrolet, Hyundai, Mazda and Kia also experienced more growth within the Hispanic market than overall for their respective brands.  In addition, Cadillac, Hyundai, GMC, Kia and Infiniti also experienced more than 25 percent growth in their sales to the Hispanic market.  Ford and GMC are not keeping pace in the Hispanic market, with overall growth for those brands exceeding Hispanic growth.

Half of the major European brands are growing or maintaining their sales to Hispanic consumers, Polk's analysis shows.  Volkswagen, MINI and BMW lead, and Audi increased its sales to Hispanics 23.4 percent in the past year, though it continues to represent less than one percent of the market.  About half of the European manufacturers are declining in Hispanic market share and none are growing more with Hispanics than the general population.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects the Hispanic population in the U.S. will grow to 20 percent by 2030.  To remain competitive with their Asian counterparts, domestic manufacturers should be working to establish their brands with this important growing demographic group as it increases in size and influence.  

About Polk

Polk is the premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions.  The organization collects and interprets global data, and provides extensive automotive business expertise to help customers understand their market position, identify trends, build brand loyalty, conquest new business and gain a competitive advantage. Polk helps automotive manufacturers and dealers, automotive aftermarket companies, finance and insurance companies, advertising agencies, media companies, consulting organizations, government agencies and market research firms make good business decisions. A privately held global firm, Polk is based in Southfield, Michigan with operations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, please visit

Table A. Top Brands by Volume Registrations to Hispanics, Jan. - Sept. 2010

Share of Hispanic Market































Editor's note: For example, this chart reads: Toyota has 20.3 percent share of the Hispanic market