The World of Automotive Public Relations: Guest Post by Christopher Davis

Have you ever wondered why there are so many car advertisements on television? Or why car manufacturers so readily put their name on everything they can, as well as at least five times on their own products? There is no question that the automotive industry in the United States is an ever-growing business. With over 10 major brands being produced here, it is a small wonder that advertising has gone crazy over cars. But what is behind that advertising though? The answer is public relations, and it plays a significant role in the automotive industry.  

Many people have the common misconception that the only way to sell cars is through advertising. While advertising is a large part of selling cars, public relations play an even bigger role in the process. The most important thing that an automaker needs to consider when designing a car is what the customer wants and what they will actually buy. This can consist of anything from conducting focus groups to sending out surveys and even as simple as asking what people want.

Recently, Vauxhall, a British manufacturer of cars, held a campaign where people came in and specifically made suggestions about what they wanted to see in their new Astra, one of the company’s best selling cars. Aside from all the silly examples, including an option to turn the car into a submarine, the engineers designed a car that they thought would please the majority of these requests. Happily enough, their plan worked and their new car is having record sales as well as receiving great reviews from automotive journalists.

I recently took part in a focus group for Volkswagen. I had been the owner of one of their Rabbit models, from 2007, and in 2009 I was asked if I would like to give my opinion about the new model. I happily agreed and spent a day talking about what I liked about my car and what could be improved. At the end of this day, Volkswagen showcased some prototypes of their new model for my fellow focus group members to sit in. Funnily enough, two years later I purchased one of these models because I was so impressed with their efforts and their new design.

While any public relations firm may have been able to pull off this event, there are many firms that specialize in the transportation aspect public relations. The top ten ranked in the country are as follows: (

1- Kurman Communications, Inc.
2- Eisbrenner Public Relations
3- Global Communicators, LLC
4- CooperKatz & Company, Inc.
5- Edelman
6- Bianchi Public Relations, Inc.
7- JMPR Public Relations, Inc.
8- Citizen Paine
9- Jackson Spalding
10- The Harrell Group

Automotive public relations, while exciting, can sometimes be unexpected. Unless one’s public relations firm is on retainer for a particular car manufacturer, the chance to work with cars may be few and far between. While this may be the case, the field of automobile manufacturing is expanding and growing every so who knows what will be possible in five years. The only thing left to do is to keep driving and to hope that one will be able to represent such manufacturers in the future.

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