DETROIT: The ongoing economic squeeze that has driven US citizens away from car dealer lots, is now filtering through to automakers' advertising budgets.

Latest data from TNS Media Intelligence indicate that most of the big vehicle manufacturers reined-in measured media spend during the year's first quarter and are unlikely to loosen the reins in the foreseeable future.

The notable exceptions are General Motors and Toyota Motor both of which accelerated their TV spend in Q1. GM increased its budget from $297 million (€190.5m; £150.9m) in Q1 2007 to $309m. The Japanese giant spent $141m, up from $119.8m.

GM's online spend also climbed to $48m from $30m in the same period last year, while Toyota's went up to $22m from $15m.

Overall, however, says Carat evp global client director Ian Beavis: "There's a lot of pressure on traditional media."

Dave Allen, of Dallas branding agency Richards Group, predicts that spend in magazines and on broadcast TV networks will take a hit by the end of the year, as ad dollars move online in the search for RoI.

Nonetheless, TNS figures reveal Nissan spent just $3.5m on web ads in Q1, compared with $12.8m a year ago; the Chrysler Group spent $12.8m, $4 million down year-on-year; and Honda's spending was flat.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff