Auto parts PR cash cut while job grows

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC: According to a new survey by the

Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC), automotive parts suppliers

are concerned about shrinking budgets at a time when their companies are

asking them to take on more communications duties.



The survey found that 33% of respondents have had PR budget cuts this

year, while 47% had budgets stay the same.



When asked what their biggest challenge is, 87% of respondents listed

budget cuts and limited budgets as either their primary or secondary

concern.



Only 60% of those responding to the survey have PR agencies of record,

with just one quarter of those using Detroit-based agencies.



Other suppliers have turned to national agencies such as Porter Novelli,

Hill & Knowlton, and Weber Shandwick Worldwide, the survey found.



"There's a big opportunity for PR firms to get some additional work from

parts suppliers because so few have agencies," said Neal Zipser, APRC's

VP. "But at the same time, corporations are cutting back and doing more

PR internally."



The survey received responses from suppliers with annual sales ranging

from $500 million to $25 billion. Suppliers with sales

from $1 billion to $5 billion saw the largest number of

cuts this year, with 40% saying budgets had been reduced. That compared

to only 33% of those with sales of more than $5 billion, and 25%

with sales from $500 million to $1 billion.



Zipser said he was surprised that the survey discovered 87% of the parts

suppliers' PR departments were responsible for their companies' external

websites. Among suppliers, website responsibility seems to be shifting

from marketing to PR, he said.



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