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Hyundai Rises to 15th in Ranking of Largest U.S. Corporate Sponsors

Automotive News, October 11, 2016

By Stephanie Hernandez McGavin

Hyundai Motor America’s NFL sponsorship helped the automaker make a major gain in U.S. sponsorship rankings for 2015, jumping from No. 58 to No. 15 on consultant IEG’s annual report of top spenders.

The Korean automaker signed onto the football sponsorship in hopes of increasing its visibility in the U.S., Automotive News reported in June 2015. Hyundai spent about $85 million on sponsorships in 2015, compared with $30 million in 2014.

At the same time, ending its NFL sponsorship cost General Motors four spots in the rankings and pushed it behind Toyota Motors Sales U.S.A. and Ford Motor Co.

GM ended up at ninth place in 2015. The automaker’s estimated 2014 spending was $195 million. In 2015, GM spent about $155 million. One of GM’s top deals in 2015 was its MLB sponsorship. Others included Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Hendrick Motorsports racing team.

Jim Andrews, a spokesman for IEG, said comparing rival companies through sponsorships provides insight into the capacity of each company based on the “size and scope” of their “product portfolios.”

Toyota took the first place spot among automakers in 2015, landing at No. 6 on IEG’s list of 122 companies. Toyota improved one spot and spent around $200 million -- nearly $20 million more than in 2014.

The report said Toyota’s top sponsorship deals included two race-car driving teams, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing, and the Houston Rockets professional basketball team, which plays in the Toyota Center arena.

Ford Motor Co., which kept eighth place another year, spent $160 million in 2015. Ford’s biggest deals that year were Wood Brothers Racing and Roush Fenway Racing. The company also sponsored the Dallas Cowboys NFL team and AT&T Stadium.

Mercedes-Benz USA ended 2015 in a tie with six other companies for No. 23, all spending about $60 million. The automaker gained seven spots and spent about $5 million more than in 2014.

American Honda Motor Co. tied for No. 41 with two other companies. It spent around $45 million in 2015. Kia Motors America, Hyundai’s Korean sister company, came in next, paying out $40 million and tying with four other companies for 44.

BMW North America, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Nissan Motor Co. were tied at No. 56 and spent about $30 million each, according to the study’s estimates. Only Nissan increased spending considerably, but all three companies increased in rank from 2014.

Volkswagen AG took last for automakers, coming in at No. 68. Volkswagen tied with 19 other companies, which all spent about $25 million.

The IEG report also broke down the top spenders list into categories such as beverages, auto and sports apparel.

The only category that spent more than auto was beverages, with PepsiCo Inc. at No. 1 on the list of all spenders.

The IEG report, which was originally published by Automotive News sibling publication Advertising Age, ranks sponsors by calculating U.S. sponsorship fees and international spending used for the U.S.