Toyota, Big 3 Opt Out of Super Bowl Advertising, Other Brands to Promote EVs

The decision by Ford, Toyota, GM and Stellantis points to the pressures faced by legacy automakers in a challenging market.

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Kia will feature the EV9 in a Super Bowl ad.

America's four leading automakers---Ford, Toyota, GM and Stellantis---are not participating in this year's Super Bowl advertising frenzy, for the first time since 2021. But several other automakers, including BMW, Kia and Volkswagen, are banking on the $7 million 30-second ad expense to boost sales of EVs.

The shift points to the pressures faced by legacy automakers in a challenging automotive market. High interest rates and slowing consumer demand have led to a reevaluation of advertising expenditures.

A Stellantis spokesperson elaborated on the decision in a statement to Fortune, citing a focus on "preserving business fundamentals to mitigate the impact of a challenging U.S. automotive market." Similarly, GM cited the ongoing adjustment of its media strategies to align with business priorities. Toyota, currently the NFL's official automotive sponsor, plans to engage audiences through an "exciting, multi-faceted activation experience" both before and during the game, involving Eli Manning and Brock Purdy, rather than through traditional advertising. Ford has yet to comment on its advertising strategy for the event.

The decision to cut back on such high-profile advertising comes amid broader industry challenges, particularly in the EV sector. The race to compete with Tesla, the industry leader in EVs, has seen legacy automakers collectively invest approximately $100 billion into mass-market EV production. However, sales have fallen short of expectations, and issues such as reliability and high costs have dampened consumer enthusiasm.

Among the automakers who are advertising during the Super Bowl is VW, for the first time since 2014. The commercial will be part of VW's ongoing 75th anniversary celebration in the U.S., but did not say if the commercial will be a 30- or 60-second spot.

BMW will run a 60-second spot during the first half of the game. Auto News reported its commercial has been produced by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and will be centered around an unspecified EV and feature a celebrity.

Kia also confirmed it will run a 60-second spot during the game. Its commercial has been produced by David & Goliath and will promote the new EV9, the firm’s first three-row electric SUV.

The brand will no doubt hope the commercial helps to spark interest in the EV9 and further drive total U.S. sales that jumped 13% last year to a record 782,451 units.

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