FRANKFURT: Advertising investment in Germany's key automotive sector enjoyed double-digit growth during the first quarter of the year.

Nielsen figures cited by Automobilwoche indicate that the sector's total spend on advertising for the three-month period reached €543.1, an increase of +10.2% from the first quarter of 2011. The sector also grew by around +7% across the whole of last year.

This latest increase reflects the fact that Germany's economy, the eurozone's largest, has consistently outperformed the rest of the region, due in part to the weak euro providing a boost to manufacturing exports.

Recent earnings updates from German carmakers including BMW and Volkswagen have beaten analyst estimates, with each firm citing growth in Asia and Latin America as a key priority for the future.

According to the latest Nielsen data, the biggest advertising spender for the first quarter was Volkswagen, which allocated €59.7m to marketing during the period.

Daimler and Opel were in second and third places respectively, on €40.5m and €38.7m respectively.

While its overall budget (€32.2m) remained below the top three, Audi recorded stellar adspend growth during the three-month period, due to its high-profile launches of the new A1 Sportback and A4 models.

Automobilwoche reported that the firm accounted for around two-thirds of the sector's entire quarterly adspend growth.

By media channel, TV took the largest share of automaker adspend on €177.1m, or a 33% share of the all-media total. TV spend was also up +3% year on year.

Data sourced from Automobilwoche/Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff