January 15, 2003

U.S. Hispanic car-buyers prefer imports

Westlake Village, California – Hispanics, who represent nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population, today account for 8 percent of new-vehicle buyers, and are the largest minority group in the new-vehicle-buying population. There is a clear preference among Hispanic buyers for import makes, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 U.S. Hispanic Automotive Segment Reportreleased on Monday.

The report analyzes the opinions of new- and used-vehicle buyers who identify themselves as “Hispanic” versus those who identify themselves as another race or culture. When comparing nameplates on the basis of the percent of owners who are of Hispanic descent or culture, all of the top 10 brands are imports. The high penetration of imports among Hispanic buyers is not only apparent in metropolitan markets, but also across rural and suburban markets.

“By 2020, the Hispanic population in the United States is expected to double to 70 million people, while new-vehicle sales to Hispanics will also experience significant growth, increasing from 8 percent of total sales to 13 percent,” said Bill Williams, senior director of marketing services at J.D. Power and Associates. “When put in the context of the phenomenal growth of the segment, the predisposition for imports among Hispanics becomes particularly important for domestic makes. It is crucial that manufacturers and dealers pay close attention to the experiences and expectations of Hispanic new-vehicle buyers.”

The report also finds that Hispanic buyers rate fuel economy, purchase price and resale value significantly higher in their selection of a vehicle than do non-Hispanics. While Hispanic buyers are significantly more likely to rate their new vehicle

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