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Americans Leads the World in Car Ownership

www.nielsen.com

News Release
For Immediate Release


AMERICANS LEADS THE WORLD IN CAR OWNERSHIP, CHINA AND INDIA FAST CATCHING UP IN ABSOLUTE NUMBER OF CARS OWNED

AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS TAP INTO THE ENORMOUS CHINA MARKET DEVOTING CLOSE TO HALF THE REGION’S AUTOMOTIVE ADVERTISING SPEND


May 7, 2007, Auckland – As economies continue to thrive hand in hand with consumers’ propensity to spend, the race to drive car ownership is on, according to a 2006 Panorama study published by The Nielsen Company.

As the Study reveals, nearly nine in 10 Americans claim to own a car, representing 190.3MM people, making it the world’s largest in terms of car penetration and absolute numbers. Further, the USA has enjoyed an increase of eight percentage points in penetration over the past 5 years – the highest recorded growth globally. Saudi Arabia follows the USA with the second highest car ownership (86%)[According to Global TGI, Nielsen’s worldwide media partner]. (Chart 1)

In the Asia Pacific region, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia have the highest automotive ownership in the region, at 82 percent, 74 percent and 70 percent respectively. Car penetration in New Zealand ranks third after the USA and Saudi Arabia. Australia and Malaysia have enjoyed increases of seven percentage points over the past 5 years outperforming the other markets where year on year car penetration has remained quite stable.

The real opportunity lies with the two fastest growing countries: India and China. While having seemingly low penetration, India (9%) and China (6%) rank among the world’s top markets in absolute numbers of cars owned. (Chart 2, 2.1)

“With these kinds of numbers, China’s market for car parts and accessories is already huge, and car manufacturers will be tapping into that potential. In addition, with current penetration sitting at the world’s lowest, the opportunity to entice the emerging and growing affluent Chinese consumers into car ownership is immense,” said Mr Richard Basil-Jones, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Nielsen Media Research, The Nielsen Company. “And because of China’s size, increasing penetration by one or two percent would bring tremendous rewards for the automotive industry.”

According to Nielsen’s Advertising Information Service, the world’s car manufacturers invested a sizeable US$1.85billion on advertising in China alone in 2006 – amounting to nearly half the region’s total automotive advertising - to grow their share of the country’s valuable, and burgeoning, car market.

“Affordability is obviously a consideration in some countries: as economies rebound, people are likely to indulge themselves by acquiring a car or upgrading to a new model,” commented Basil-Jones.

In total, automotive and related companies spent over US$3.95 billion on advertising in 2006, of which China took the lion’s share of 47 percent, followed by Australia (17%), India (15%) and South Korea (6%). Car manufacturers invested the least in the Philippines, spending only US$27MM on advertising in 2006. (Chart 3)

The top 10 car brands contributed to one half of the total automotive advertising expenditure in 2006 with Toyota, the region’s biggest advertiser in automotive-related advertising in 2006, spending US$292MM, followed at a distant second by Hyundai ($197MM) and Nissan ($154MM) in third place.

See... Release and Charts (PDF)

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