Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday: Nascar’s Effect on the U.S. Auto Industry
On Toyota’s 10-year anniversary, an UberMedia Business Intelligence Study quantified the Japanese manufacturer’s success of becoming integral to American racing culture.
The 2017 Daytona 500 marks Toyota’s 10th year in the Nascar Cup Series and a decade of integrating its sedan, the Toyota Camry, into American automotive culture.
In order to quantify Toyota’s success in getting the attention of Nascar fans, we used our proprietary mobile location data analysis to look into the effect that Toyota’s Nascar participation has had on influencing people to visit actual dealerships. Additionally, we looked into how winning a Nascar race could be related to dealership visits of the participating brands (Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota).
The Great American Race
The Daytona 500 is a Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Speedway holds 100,000 seated spectators. With general admission it is estimated that there are 250,000 fans that attend, making the Daytona 500 the third most-attended sporting event in the country.
Currently, Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota all participate as manufacturers in the Cup Series, producing stock cars that are meant to resemble production-based American family sedans.
Toyota Joins Nascar
When Toyota announced it was joining Nascar in 2006, the manufacturer was met with some opposition. According to one critic, “Not everyone [was] pleased that Japanese automaker Toyota [was prepared] to join the ranks of America’s most celebrated good ol’ boys.” However, The New York Times noted that Toyota was committed “to [getting] many of the estimated 75 million Nascar fans in the United States to notice Toyota and, of course, buy one.”
The Toyota Camry was introduced into the Nascar Cup Series in 2007 and won the Daytona 500 in 2016, marking the first time an import manufacturer won the series since the first Daytona 500 race in 1959. It is currently the only import manufacturer to participate. Additionally, Toyota is an official sponsor of the series.
In January, Toyota released the 2018 Toyota Camry TRD. In an interview with Autoweek, Toyota’s VP of Integrated Marketing said that now “fans can enjoy driving a Camry that closely resembles the one their favorite Nascar driver races each weekend.”
Spectators Visit Toyota Dealerships
As it turns out, Toyota has found its place in Nascar. UberMedia’s Business Intelligence Study revealed that mobile device owners in attendance at a race where a Toyota Camry won were also more likely to be observed at a Toyota dealership in the 30 days after the race. We saw a 25.2% change when we compared that to the race attendees who visited a Toyota dealership in the 30 days before a race. When compared to the percent change Ford (3.6%) and Chevrolet (2.5%) saw, it looks like they are winning more than just races.
Nascar Fans are Car Fans
Additionally, we found that the Daytona 500 and the start of the Nascar season provides huge exposure for the auto industry in general, driving notable increases in dealership visits from fans.
- People who saw a given manufacturer win were more likely to visit that manufacturer after the race
- Toyota dealerships saw the strongest positive correlation between a win and an increase in visits from race attendees
- Regardless of who won, Nascar race attendees were more likely to visit any auto dealership after attending a race
We identified Nascar fans by observing devices seen at Nascar Sprint Cup Series (now known as the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series) races in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, our team of data scientists identified which of those devices were also seen at Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota dealerships. Our team then analyzed the location data from those devices to provide a detailed view of Nascar fans and their visitation patterns to automotive dealers. Analysis included identifying the likelihood of race attendees to visit a dealership lot before or after a race, and whether seeing a certain manufacturer win a race was related to that likelihood.