The National Auto Dealers Association’s (NADA) annual report detailing where local auto and truck dealerships made and spent their money shows that so-called “Tier 3” clients invested a combined $9.42 billion on advertising in 2018. That’s a decline of 3.2 percent, or $311 million, compared with what they spent in 2017. But last year’s tally was still $245 million ahead of what was spent in 2015.

NADA says dealers sold a combined 17.22 million new cars and light trucks last year. Despite worries of a slowing market, the year-end tally was an uptick versus the 17.14 million reported in 2017. In terms of advertising, NADA senior economist Patrick Manzi says that means for 2018 advertising expenditure per new unit sold was $624. That’s $5 per vehicle less versus 2017. In recent years, the high point was $633. That came in 2015, when a record 17.3 million new vehicles were sold.