Holiday Ads Drive Car Sales

As November turns to December, luxury car-makers bombard the airwaves with ads suggesting the perfect holiday gift-one with 4 wheels, leather seats, and a giant red bow on top. But do those ads really work?

Everyone’s seen the ads.

As November turns to December, luxury car-makers bombard the airwaves with ads suggesting the perfect holiday gift—one with 4 wheels, leather seats, and a giant red bow on top. But do those ads really work?

A survey by the online lease marketplace Swapalease.com suggests they do—sometimes.

Swapalease.com looked at vehicle search and consumer consideration patterns for November and December 2013. They used those metrics to determine which brands had the greatest bump in consumer interest in December versus November. The winner? Among luxury brands, Lexus appears to have the most successful campaign, with a 0.6% increase in searches and consideration in December.

“Based on this marketplace data, the advertising continues to work for Lexus, which operates the ‘December to Remember’ tagline in its television ads,” said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease.com. “If anything, it’s a little surprising to see there are several other ‘non-luxury’ brands on the list that perform better than luxury in December, especially when you combine the campaign focus and desire to gift others or yourself.”

In fact, Chrysler’s numbers dwarf Lexus’, with a nearly 15% jump in interest. Mazda came in second (9.2%). Among luxury brands, Infiniti saw a 0.3% bump. However, other luxury brands—Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz each saw drops in interest.

Overall, Swapalease.com’s data suggest it’s a popular time to lease a car. A separate report from the company found 84.2% of lease applications were approved in November, the second-highest monthly approval rate of the year. Hall said that’s likely due to Americans becoming more comfortable with leases generally.

“Lease deals will continue to rise over the next several months as car sales increase and used car values maintain their strong retention rates,” Hall said. “What’s more, leasing is gaining popularity among millions of consumers who now view their car as just another monthly payment.”