Thursday, January 27, 2011

Drivers, start your engines.

By Margie Church, Copywriter/Editor

Is it time to test the water with a new car loan promotion? Possibly. Is it time for spring auto loan campaigns? Absolutely.

In January, Americans showed higher than anticipated confidence than the economy, though it's far from being pronounced "healthy." Plus, the average auto loan for new car purchases carried an interest rate of 4.16% in December. This was the lowest level since the automotive research site,, began tracking data in 2002. Granted, luxury car sales dominated the market and the most qualified buyers got the lowest interest rates. However, deep incentives likely contributed to strong auto sales at the end of the year. Industry wide, U.S. auto sales rose 11% in December, capping the best quarter since the third quarter of 2008, according to sales tracker, Autodata.

Push this a little further, and consider that automotive manufacturers around the world, are throwing record levels of money against the Super Bowl. As many as nine of them are giving the traditional top ad spenders a real run for their money. GM is reappearing after a two-year absence. Hyundai and Kia are in the lineup. BMW slides in cue for the first time in a decade, while Mercedes-Benz makes its debut. In other words, positive things are happening in the automotive world and a renewed commitment to advertising in general signals optimism about our economy.

Even if your service area still seems a bit too wobbly to put strong effort against new car loans, what's to say an auto loan campaign isn't right for your CU? Why not ride the coattails of post-holiday and Super Bowl awareness, and blast out a great campaign that shows off your fantastic auto loan rates and terms? April is a traditional time for CUs to do this anyway. With the manufacturers already pumping up enthusiasm for a new car purchase, your credit union can benefit. Lots of times "new to you" is just as wonderful as brand new. And there's always that "new car scent" air freshener available if car buyers need a mental boost. Tell members and prospects to refinance to your credit union and save money. All good strategies.

We're creating auto loan campaigns all over the U.S. What's going on in your CU's service area? Can we help you formulate a great auto campaign? Tell me about it.

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