Who's Buying What? Certain Automakers Making Inroads in Minority Communities

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
whos buying what certain automakers making inroads in minority communities

Regardless of what your college instructors claim, individuality remains a virtue. And, while (legally and harmlessly) going your own way is still a good thing, great masses of individuals often gravitate towards the same thing. It’s an age-old phenomenon, one easily seen in the buying preferences of minority communities.

If you’re someone who values the time-honored affordability and usability of the common sedan, thank the African-American community. They’re still buying tons of them. If you value innovation and industry disruption, tip your hat at the Asian community. They show an increased affinity for trying new things.

While registration data shows America’s visible minorities haven’t diverged too far from last year’s buying preferences, a few surprises can be found in data drawn from the first half of the year.

Registration data collected by IHS Markit and published by Automotive News shows one major change: the elevation of the Tesla Model 3 to the top-selling vehicle among Asian buyers. In last year’s first-half data, Tesla’s compact EV was nowhere to be seen.

Basically, the entries in last year’s top five list ( Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord) moved down one notch to make room for the Model 3. Circumstantial evidence makes this new entry less of a surprise for yours truly. The first three Model 3s I ever saw were piloted by Asian drivers.

Elsewhere, top-seller lists showed less drastic evolutions. Among African-Americans, sedans still rank highly, occupying the top three positions. Those vehicles are the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Honda Civic. Good choices, all. And while the Ford F-Series cropped up in second place last year, the world’s best-selling vehicle dropped to fifth place in the first half of 2019. In fourth? Ram trucks, which didn’t make the list last year.

Speaking to AN, IHS Markit Chief Diversity Officer Marc Bland noted the rising popularity of pickups among African-American buyers. This, he said, presents a marketing opportunity automakers so far haven’t capitalized on.

Ram’s impressive sales surge is something we’ve documented in 2019. The brand now outsells General Motors’ pickups by a healthy margin, giving Ford’s segment-leading F-Series a run for its money. Ram also shows up in the number seven spot among Hispanic buyers, ahead of F-Series, but behind the fifth-place Chevrolet Silverado (which doesn’t move from last year’s standings).

What’s missing from the African-American shopping list in this latest data dump? The Nissan Sentra, which posted a fifth-place win last year. In 2019, it doesn’t rank in the top 10. Which isn’t to say sedan marketing should fall by the wayside — those players still in the game (imports, namely), have a years-long connection with minority communities and retain plenty of goodwill, despite the growing number of crossover and truck sales.

Among Hispanic buyers, the sedan still reigns supreme; only the positions have changed. The number one choice is still the Honda Civic, while the Toyota Camry moved up two spots from last year’s No. 4 result. The Corolla moves from third to second place, while the RAV4 moves up a spot to third.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler, Tesla, Honda]

Join the conversation
4 of 56 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 15, 2019

    At one time America had the best advertising, the best cars, and lead the World in many things. Not so much anymore. I do understand advertising that targets specific ethnic and racial groups and there is nothing wrong with that because advertising to be successful needs to reach out to those consumers that will buy your product.

    • Raynla Raynla on Oct 15, 2019

      America is currently making the best car ever built... The Tesla Model 3

  • Raynla Raynla on Oct 15, 2019

    ****This is what i really wanted to say**** While not perfect...an American car company based in California is currently making the safest, best cars ever built and desired all over the world. Other countries are changing their rules and giving incentives for them to be built in their country. Others are partitioning to have them imported to theirs. While some states here limit or have outright banned their sales. Said company is leading the competition by at least 5 years and influencing the entire industry to abandon their current offerings. Three and a half years ago this company had people lining up all over the world to place a 1K deposit on a vehicle they hadn’t even seen before. They are doing all of this with absolutely no advertising, marketing or catering to any particular group or demographic. But most of you here are to closed minded, uniformed and ignorant to begin to understand. Fast forward to today and the Tesla Model 3 is eroding market share of all but one legacy automaker in a down market. All together now... USA! USA USA!

    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Oct 15, 2019

      Elon, Elon, Elon??? However as heretical as your opinion may be on TTAC, I do indeed believe that you may be correct.

  • THX1136 Maybe this has already been stated somewhere else, but what will the EV version, if there is one, price point be for the Charger?
  • SilverHawk If I can swing it financially...
  • Louis Faiella What idiots!!!Do you think that stupidity will sell cars?Then later on they will modify the "code" and all numbers will have exceptions.The only way to create brand loyalty is to use a name and maybe an associated number at best.AH the good old days of a mercury Cougar XR-7 GT!!OR a Lincoln premiere, OR a Cadillac Coupe Deville, memorable .....YES!!A4/A5/A6/A7 etc ............Not so much.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird This Eldorado looks very restorable. They tend to be popular with the low rider and donk crowd or just fans of 79-85 E-body cars. Replace the problematic HT4100 with the Oldsmobile rocket 307/350 or the non 8-6-4 368 Cadillac V8 and buff out the paint and you’ll be good to go.
  • 28-Cars-Later Here's one: What are the chances of more Giorgio based products in USDM or Canada?