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As Hispanics buy more cars, stores add videos in Spanish

David Barkholz originally wrote this article for and I wanted to repost it here.

Eighteen months ago, Coast Nissan in San Luis Obispo, Calif., introduced Spanish-language videos with each car posted online.

General Manager Eric Ideman said it was a response to two trends:

•  His customer base along the central coast is heavily Hispanic, with many speaking only Spanish or preferring to communicate in the language. 

•  Data showed increasing numbers of online vehicle-shoppers watching car videos. 

"We have lot of people searching [for cars] in Spanish," Ideman said. "We wanted to make sure they could get their videos in Spanish, too."

Hispanics account for an increasing percentage of car purchases nationally, causing dealerships across the country to reassess how they market to the demographic, according to Eley Duke III, vice president of Duke Automotive (Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac) in Suffolk, Va.

The videos at Coast Nissan and sister store Coast BMW appear as links on the Web pages of specific vehicles. They are for new and used vehicles. And they are either vehicle walk-around videos or a series of still photos spliced together with voice-over.

Duke said the area has a small Hispanic population nearby. But, he said, he added Spanish-language videos in December to the inventory he shows on the dealership website and social media feeds because he doesn't want to lose a single sale to a language barrier.

Duke, like Coast Nissan, added the videos at the recommendation of one of its digital ad agencies, ZMOT Auto. The agency recently announced a deal with inventory video maker Flick Fusion to provide Spanish-language voice-overs to Flick Fusion's videos.

In 2014, Hispanics accounted for 12 percent of retail vehicle registrations minus fleet and commercial vehicles, according to IHS Automotive. The number was 9.3 percent in 2010, according to Marc Bland, IHS Automotive vice president of diversity and inclusion. "If an automotive brand is looking for growth, there's no better place to look than the ethnic consumer -- with Hispanics leading the way," Bland said.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that Hispanics, who numbered 52 million in the country in July 2011, or 17 percent of the population, will account for 30 percent of the population by 2050.

Duke said video-watching also is on the rise among car shoppers. "Videos are such a big part of a visual society," he said.

According to Google's "Digital Drives Auto Shopping" study published in November 2013, more than half of auto shoppers watch 30 minutes or more of video during their shopping journeys. Moreover, one in four watched an hour or more, the study found.

In recognition of those trends, Coast Nissan is offering all of its online inventory with videos in English and Spanish, Ideman said.

The store is not as close to heavy Hispanic foot traffic as some competitors, he said. So Coast Nissan also is ensuring that its paid search ads, blogs, chat and website content are in Spanish, too, so those customers can find and interact easily in either English or Spanish, he said.

It isn't good enough, Ideman said, to get an online lead or phone call from Spanish-speaking customers and make them wait for a response until the store can get a bilingual salesperson to contact them.

"People want an immediate response, or they go away," he said.

Coast Nissan sells about 80 vehicles per month split evenly between new and used.

Of the store's six salespeople, four are bilingual. And so is Coast Nissan's finance director, who is responsible for closing deals in finance and insurance.

Ideman said, "We want to hold them all the way through the transaction."

Are you guys all using Spanish videos in addition to English on your dealer sites?

Grant Gooley
This is fantastic. Developing a relationship with other cultures on your website makes a ton of sense! Through video makes even more sense. The truth is, consumers are nervous to walk into any dealership. Lowering the anxiety with video on your website is a simple way to drive traffic.

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