2008 is expected to be
the worst for auto sales in a decade. Automakers are slashing their ad budgets,
but online they are spending more. After consistently leading the U.S. in
advertising spending, the automotive sector has dropped into the No. 2 spot
behind retail. Even as new vehicle sales decline, automotive marketers will
spend nearly $3 billion online this year, up 21.6%. By 2012, automotive online
ad spending will top $5.6 billion. Research shows that eight out of 10 consumers
now consult the Internet at least once during the car-buying process. It's taking them some time to wak-up, but thoughts of bankruptcy have a sobering effect on one's marketing planning.