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Chicago TV, radio, print entities advise dealers on reaching Hispanics

November 23, 2010
When Raul Chavarria shops for a car, "I'm bringing my brother and my wife and my two children. What are the kids going to do there? I don't know, but I'm bringing them. And I'm third generation Mexican, but that's how we do things." Gladys Arroyo echoed Chavarria's sentiments. "Hispanics travel as families. We go in groups. "We made our last deal sitting on one-inch chairs in the dealership's play area." Chavarria, who works as local sales manager at La Ley radio, 107.9 FM; and Arroyo, classified and local sales director of Hoy newspaper, joined Telemundo Chicago at an Oct. 20 presentation at the CATA that examined Chicago's Hispanic consumers and what draws them to one dealer over another. Hispanics in the Chicago market spent nearly $1 billion on new cars and trucks last year. The Hispanic population growth outpaces all other minorities, and with it, the sector's thirst for vehicles grows. Dealers must recognize and appeal to subtleties to reach Hispanics, said representatives of Hispanic- targeted television, radio and newspaper entities. The area's Hispanic head count stands at more than 1.8 million, which is greater than the entire population of Philadelphia, the country's fifth largest city. The average Hispanic household size is 3.9 people, compared to 2.8 people overall; and the median age of Chicago area Hispanics is 24.7, versus 33.9 overall. "We're procreating early, and we're procreating often," quipped Emilio Abdala of Armas Marketing, another of the seminar's speakers. In all, 69 percent of the Chicago Hispanic market is under age 35. Telemundo Chicago's Kim Benz cited statistics that indicate new-vehicle sales to non-Hispanics have been flat over the last eight years, but sales to Hispanics since 1996 have increased more than 40 percent. Other data show Chicago Hispanics are willing to travel up to 26 miles one way to shop for a new or used vehicle. The prevailing determinants: Hispanics prefer patronizing a dealership with their families, and they prefer to speak Spanish with sales representatives. Dealers can enhance their appeal to Hispanics by erecting "Bienvenido" signs to welcome Hispanics, and bilingual signs that point to all areas, like sales, service and restrooms. Also, prominently display vehicles that are popular with Hispanics. And have extra chairs available to accommodate families, the panelists stressed. Bilingual advertising also helps, said the Hispanic media representatives. That can range from translating the dealer's Web pages to soliciting on Hispanic media. Abdala said Hispanics gravitate to Spanish media because it is familiar. "When you're at home," he said, "you want to get in a mode where you're comfortable. You want people speaking the way you want to be spoken to. Hispanics speak Spanish in their homes, so you should speak to them in their language." At the request of the CATA board of directors, the three entities developed advertising packages for CATA dealers to appear in print in Hoy; on radio on WLEY-FM; and on television on Telemundo Chicago. The packages cost $7,500 and $15,000 for one-week schedules.
 

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