By on October 14, 2019

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.

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

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]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

56 Comments on “Who’s Buying What? Certain Automakers Making Inroads in Minority Communities...”


  • avatar
    mmreeses

    lazy, no effort data analysis over at Automotive News.

    As an example…at the top level, Asians skew younger, more educated, wealthier, bicoastal than the US average.

    What you want to see is what % of Asian households w/a college degree and incomes >$100k have a Model 3 versus all Americans within the same demo.

    I’d bet that it’s similar.

    I’d also bet that the story w/sedans would be similar between blacks and whites within the same demos.

    And I’d bet that rural Hispanics and rural whites with similar incomes both love pick-ups.

    just saying.

    • 0 avatar
      Robotdawn

      I’ve maintained for some time social class is significantly more important than race in the US in determining how you live and what you buy.
      This article sounds like someone had an expected outcome and fit the data to their prejudices.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        I believe that Journalism 101 these days teaches “someone had an expected outcome and fit the data to their prejudices” as a baseline skill to create high click-rates that increase the revenue stream in todays digital world of “information”. Long gone are the days of doing the actual hard work of level playing field impartial research on any subject. We see a bit of throwing the raw meat over the fence here on TTAC to get them clickers a clickin’.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    This comment may be racist? Classist?

    One of the reasons I don’t drive a Chrysler 300 or a Dodge Charger are the ahem “types of people” that drive older versions of these cars.

    An example is 2006-2010 Chargers of the V6 or R/T variety are often driven by what many would call “white trash”. Or at least that’s what I see driving around.

    I’m surprised I drive a Mustang given the number of hoodlums and young guys (which I am not) who drive ’em. I call it “the Mustang tax”. Cops are more likely to pull you over, and other drivers assume you are about to do something stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Are you a car enthusiast? Or a social experiment? You’re seriously going to avoid buying what you really want based on what others might think, say or snicker?

      I’ve been a huge fan of Fox Mustangs since middle school, and I’ve owned them for 35 years, not giving a care what people think/say.

      Except Mustangs cross all enemy lines, country club to ghetto, male or female, young or old, high school girl or boy. And there’s a few others that accomplish the same or similar, like the Wrangler.

      I’ve only been cited for speeding one time while going *under* the speed limit. This was early 90’s (when the saying went “Ya just can’t catch a 5.0…”). That was thanks to a rusted out, POS Ford Courier passing me on the right (on a 4-lane, blind sweeping curve) and a radar cop coming at us that only had a split second to decide who was speeding.

      Anyways, I’m positive hoodlums are the minority, I mean make up the smallest group of Mustang owners. Or maybe I’m the hoodlum? Actually because of the 2 Mustangs I owned (plus an MR2 and Ranger, average age of 5 years), word got around town and especially my apt complex that I was a
      “drug dealer” (?!).

      I was p!ssed at first. Then I rode with it! You know what they say about chicks wanting bad boys…

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      One of the biggest reasons why I purchased my 2013 200 over a second-generation 300 was precisely because of the stereotype thing. I was too afraid of being associated with some of the typical owners of LX-platform vehicles.

      Unfortunately, after buying my 200, I soon discovered that a lot of less-than-favorable characters were buying 2011-14 200s and trashing them. Any 200s in my area (first or second generation) are well-kept and owned by little old ladies but I’ve realized that since the 200/Avenger depreciates into pennies — as typical with most any other American midsize, no matter how good/reliable it may be — certain people snatch these cars up and trash them. I’ve started to see tacky rims, gaudy aftermarket plastichrome, dents and creases on the doors or body panels on these cars. Haven’t seen multicolored door/fender/hood/trunk panels on these cars yet but that’s around the corner.

      Oh, well, I already bought the car and have no regrets. It has served me well for 140,000 miles and counting and I have no plans on getting rid of it for at least another five years, if at all. I guess it’s a silly little lesson that I really shouldn’t worry about the “typical” owner or driver of a given car. I pride myself that my 200 still looks showroom sharp, with NO “mods” or damage, not even a ding.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I’m a fairly well educated MPA degreed middle aged guy who just drove out of the showroom today with a leftover 2018 Dodge Challenger GT AWD for $30k.

      I did consider a Mustang, and as a former owner who thankfully never had to endure the ‘Mustang tax”wanted one but needed a bit more room and AWD without the bulk of a CUV/SUV. Maybe its my way of making up for the AMC Eagle SX/4 that I should have purchased 30 years ago.

      I really don’t care about the perceived demographic, ahem “types of people” who have a penchant for these vehicles. I bought it because it had enough room for me and the occasional passengers and gear. The rear seats fold allowing me to carry skis, a short board or the occasional home repair purchase.
      Form follows function.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      This is the exact reason why I do not buy muscle cars or BMW / Mercedes. I really don’t want to be binned into the same group with the stereotype owners.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    “Regardless of what your college instructors claim, individuality remains a virtue.”

    Learned everything you know about higher education from Turning Point USA, huh?

    I’ve spent most of my adult life around higher education in one way or another, and this is a pretty characterization of what it is that higher education does.

    The goal is to teach the students to think for themselves. That’s a pro-individuality endeavor!

    I couldn’t read the rest of the article. I’ve seen everything that’s bad about higher education, but it’s one of the few institutions of modern Life that hasn’t let me down. You’re missing a whole lot of real criticisms of higher education, and I’d love to talk about those.

    But Turning Point USA and the right-wing blogosphere are so far off the mark that there’s nothing to discuss.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the commentariat around this place insists that the only way one could have an even slightly liberal opinion on anything is because they’re brainwashed.

      nevermind the irony of that coming from people who immerse themselves in right-wing media.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I grew up reading Thomas Sowell and Rich Kalgaard.

        It’s a shame that the intellectual core of the conservative movement aged out, because the quality of conservative arguments has slipped since since the early 1990s when I thought those guys had it all figured out.

        The reason education makes people liberal is merely that conservative arguments aren’t very good these days. One of the skills that is deliberately taught in the classroom is critical reading — how to read from multiple sources, and generally tell if someone is b*lls#!tting you.

        If conservative arguments aren’t holding up to an 19 year old with access to a library, the problem is with the arguments. Conservatives need to get their intellectual and ideological $#!t together, instead attacking the concept of education.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Actually, I’d say the intellectual core of every “movement” has pretty much aged out. I don’t see any intellectual lions “on the left” either.

          What passes for political “thought” these days makes me unbelievably sad – and that’s across the spectrum.

          • 0 avatar

            What AOC is not an intellectual lioness? How that can be?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ILO, she’s got people running against her from her own party…………….

            What The ………….?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Actually, whether you agree politically with AOC or not (and I’m one of the “or not” folks – her ideas are way too pie-in-the-sky), she’s got actual policy ideas that go beyond “the other side sucks.” And she ain’t bought and sold, far as I can tell. I’ll go with that as a positive. I can think of a few Republicans who I similarly disagree with but have ideas worth talking about.

            People like this are the solution, not the problem. Doesn’t matter if you agree with them or not, ultimately.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Warren is not an intellectual lightweight.

            She is very much a liberal — which you might find agreeable, or or not.

            She has been studying the intersection of law and economics since around the time I was born.

            I’m not asking you to agree with her, but she is a serious person who is very thoughtful about the issues.

            I’d love to see an actual conservative intellectual debate her — no matter who wins the debate, I would win as a voter.

            However, in order to do that, we’d need to find a conservative who does something other than scream Conservative articles-of-faith and shout insults louder than the other guy. For instance, most conservatives argue that lower taxes are better — but they’re very poor at articulating *why* this might be the case, and they get offended when asked to think about situations where this might not be the case. If we could find a conservative who could actually debate this topic, I’d LOVE to see that debate, and my mind might even be changed.

            But, given the behavior of the top Republican and his followers, I won’t be holding my breath. Twitter insults and arguments that wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of a 19 year old with a library card carried the day.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I miss William H Buckley and Christopher Hitchens because they actually had deep thought behind their opinions and were willing to engage anyone in debate who was willing to go to bat against them.

            I would love to see true intellectuals from opposite sides of the spectrum debate each other. I am certain that I would learn something from the exercise.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “The reason education makes people liberal is merely that conservative arguments aren’t very good these days.”

          I respectfully disagree as this isn’t always the case, but if the education primary consists of Marxist propaganda then I rescind my disagreement.

          “One of the skills that is deliberately taught in the classroom is critical reading — how to read from multiple sources, and generally tell if someone is b*lls#!tting you.”

          I know you have children, is this still the case with your child’s classes? You and I may have been taught this but the post 1990ish generation is sorely lacking in critical thinking skills from what I have observed.

          The others thing I would point out to a young one is to strive to seek as many sources as you can both inside and outside the conventional spectrum and to always approach anything with healthy skepticism. Education is the search for truth in a sea of lies.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “The reason education makes people liberal is… ”

          Is that an education is both the door to and the inheritance of economic success. The social costs of liberal policy become considerably more affordable when those costs can’t afford to live in your neighborhood.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Is that an education is both the door to and the inheritance of economic success.”

            All of those basket weaver majors wish this was the case, sir.

            ” The social costs of liberal policy seem awfully affordable when those costs can’t afford to live in your neighborhood.”

            Very much agreed.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Steph made a flippant comment that should be rescinded.

            Post-secondary educators still attempt to impart the importance of critical thinking, data selection and research.

            Unfortunately a great many of the current generation, have no inherent appreciation of these concepts. Few have ever watched a TV news broadcast, fewer have listened to a radio newscast, and the concept of subscribing to newspapers is quite foreign to them.

            Group think is evident in how they socialize and their consumer/purchasing habits.

            And some cultures/ethnicities/nationalities have never been allowed to criticize their ‘superiors’ so meekly accept what they are told. I find this a particularly troubling issue.

            As we acknowledge relying on social media for information actually increases polarization, and confirmation bias.

            Workplace studies have demonstrated that those who have completed a solid ‘classical education’ are actually quicker to pick up new skills and adapt. Since a significant number of existing jobs/occupations did not exist 20 years ago and expectations are that this trend will continue, then training/educating students for existing jobs, is ineffective as we are behind the trend. Exceptions being engineering/STEM programs.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Someone’s higher education failed to impart the distinction between critical thinking and critical theory. Maybe reading what Elizabeth Warren had to say about the economic issues Americans should expect their politicians to address in her 2003 book would help those who fancy their views to be intellectual to understand that they’ve just been distracted and diverted from making a contribution to mankind.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      This is why he/she is still the college instructors, not working a real job with a real pay.

      Individuality sucks, they don’t pay your bill, and they cost a lot in student loan payments, here is no demand for it yet has unlimited supply.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’d love to know where IHS Markit is getting its data on minority registrations.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      We have all heard over and over again, ad nauseam, that to track minority behavior is racist.

      So what other minority traits and behavior are clandestinely tracked?

      And how does this affect the ads we see everywhere?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        You’re equating this with things like racial profiling, which is a categorically dumb and immoral practice that we all should have a big, big problem with.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          This. No one’s seriously upset because Toyota put a jazzy R&B beat in their latest RAV4 commercial, to try and lure in more black people.

          It’s not the same thing as judging someone’s moral character, propensity for/against crime or societal worth on their ethnicity and/or skin color.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            What, we white folks can’t appreciate a jazzy beat? Geez, Kyree, next think we know, you’ll be telling us you have *so many* good white friends.

            (rimshot)

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            It’s in the environment in which people are brought up, beginning as children!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          FreedMike, how is it any different?

          The end result is the same.

          Some minorities are targeted. Other minorities not so much.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            So there’s no difference between someone looking to sell you something, and someone who’s looking to put you in jail…?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            FreedMike, there is no difference.

            Everybody knows that it is going on, but it should remain hidden, out of sight, and out of mind.

            After this has come to light, some observant people will look at the occupants of a vehicle and see what they want to see, and those vehicles could be targeted by law enforcement, if they didn’t already equate these vehicles with minority communities.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, modern advertising absolutely caters to minorities and specific audiences, and draws upon common stereotypes to do so. I’m sure the question “What do Asian people like?” (as if Asia were one giant monolithic area, but that’s neither here nor there) has been passed around more than one ad company boardroom.

        Still, I’m not arguing against minority-targeted advertising. It’s actually really effective, and positive in many instances.

        There’s a reason Hennessy-brand cognac is so big in the black community. It was one of the first liquor brands to actually invest in cultivating a black audience. Likewise, Subaru’s LGBT ads of a couple decades ago were a startling and important message during a time period in which it still wasn’t generally acceptable to be openly queer, or to portray queer people positively in media.

        As someone who is both black and openly gay, I can’t argue against either.

        But I wasn’t getting into all of that with my first comment. I think you jumped the gun there. I just am curious where they’re getting their facts on these minority registrations, is all.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree that it would be nice if the source of the data was cited.

      I do not know what was used but here is how the CFPB determines if lenders are complying with fair lending laws.

      https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/using-publicly-available-information-to-proxy-for-unidentified-race-and-ethnicity/

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Kyree:
    “I just am curious where they’re getting their facts on these minority registrations, is all.”

    Marketing surveys, most likely.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe, marketing surveys. Maybe not.

      But most likely racial profiling.

      Targeting minority groups heavily with a product and then follow social media and public observation in large metropolitan areas to gather “trending.” Facebook, Google, et al, are guilty of selling personal data and access to anyone who will pay their price.

      How else to explain “Blended” families in every commercial. But SOME minorities remain woefully under-represented in ALL aspects of marketing and advertising.

      The bottom line is whatever it takes to sell.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “How else to explain “Blended” families in every commercial.”

        They’re doing it to troll you, clearly.

        No, blended families are *not* in every commercial. But they’re featured for the same reason that advertisers show clean houses, new cars, happy people, and so on – people like to see a positive image. I’d say happy families of any kind are a positive image.

        Why is this worth your time and trouble to even think about?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          FreedMike, if you have to ask, then you are part of the problem.

          In a society that forces all of us to consider the equality that we are all Americans, we now find that we are separated Americans, some more equal than others.

          Everybody knows that targeting and singling out minorities has gone on forever, but it should not be brought into the open and should remain suppressed. It’s a HUGE dirty secret of law enforcement, marketing&advertising.

          Because, supposedly, we are all the same. We are all Americans. In America it doesn’t matter what your race, background, ethnicity, religion is.

          Now we find out that the reality is different.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Anecdotally, I have noticed an uptick.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      They are likely also hiring marketing firms that have experience marketing other products to these communities.

      Seriously, you are not surprised that they have these specialty marketing firms out there, are you?

  • avatar

    Mercury was all about the minorities in the Nineties. Especially with the Tracer.

    http://file.vintageadbrowser.com/l-ct9ku2sdl21ln4.jpg

  • avatar
    stuki

    A bit exaggerated perhaps, but Hispanics live in The South West. African Americans in the South East. It’s not really _that_ surprising that either aren’t quite as easily swayed by SUV and Subaru marketing to pony up an additional $10K over a sedan, as is a Mormon living by a ski resort in the Rockies…… Nor as a Bay Area refugee playing active and outdoorsy type at the clothing store, in Boulder…

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      From my unscientific observations of the infinite statistical sampling in my region, I have concluded that Mexican-Americans and Native Americans love their Chevy pickup trucks.

      And marketing&advertisement cater to those groups, even though the F150 is still the best seller in this same region where white people are the minority.

  • avatar
    Fliggin_De_Fluge

    LMFAO.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    You reach a certain age regardless of race and the marketers lose interest in you unless its Medicare supplemental insurance, and medical related products and services.

  • avatar

    So no data on Jews, Native Americans, Italians, Russians (includes Ukrainian and etc from USSR), Eastern Europeans and Irish?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      When Alka-Seltzer was running the “speecy-spicy meatball” commercials, nobody cared. Clearly an ad to sell Alka-Seltzer to the Italian food connoisseur.

      We really cannot change the definition of racist to suit our interpretation when it is so widely used in marketing&advertising.

      Racism is bad, no matter how we try to define it to suit our purposes. If racism is bad in Law Enforcement, it is bad in marketing&advertising as well.

      And when was the last time we saw commercials with Native Americans in it? There are still too few commercials that feature Hispanics or Asian Americans, while one minority seems to be over-represented in commercials for American consumption.

      I’ve seen commercials and advertising in Old Mexico, in Canada, in Israel, in Germany, in Portugal, in Japan, in England, all places I have visited, and America’s commercials and advertising are the worst.
      Not even close to being realistic.

      So how good does that make these marketing stats re “making inroads….?”

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I can remember being taken aback by a couple Pepto-Bismol ads in the ‘90s or aughts, when their tagline was “The Diarrhea Specialist.” Both ads played upon the “travel sickness” meme, and depicted visitors to the US. One was a family from England, and one was a Hispanic family where either the mother or daughter pronounced the last word of the tagline as “especialist!”

        That’s a whole big bowl of “not cool” in my book!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yeah, I remember those, as I stopped using Pepto-Bismol after I saw those commercials, not wanting my family to be equated diarrhea.

          Ended up using Alka-Seltzer instead, and howled with laughter each time the “speecey-spicy meatball” ad aired on TV.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    People arguing f*cking politics have ruined this site completely.

    7 out 10 threads are totally unreadable.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

  • avatar
    raynla

    ****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!

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • slavuta: “Still, no proof.” you’re denying undeniable. These transactions are official and easily...
  • ttacgreg: A number of years ago there was some guy I think the name was Big Trucks Review or something like that. He...
  • ttacgreg: If cable got cut off, at least Rupert Murdoch would at long last be out of business here in the USA, and he...
  • Lou_BC: Thanks for pointing out that tRump was too incompetent to appoint the right people for the job. Still, no...
  • ttacgreg: I have read opinions many years ago that much of the problem of the gas shortage in the early 70s was that...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber