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Visteon slashes 2002 marketing plan

Visteon Corp. will eliminate booth displays at industry trade shows and slash advertising and public relations costs in 2002.

Visteon officials wouldn't say how much they expect to save next year, but an internal memo distributed last week described those and other changes as "major funding cuts in corporate activities." A senior executive called the reductions part of Visteon's continued belt-tightening and back-to-the-basics approach in light of the uncertain industry outlook for 2002.

"The chairman (Peter Pestillo) said ... we're planning for total industry sales just south of 15 million," said Susan Skerker, senior vice president of business strategy and corporate relations. "At that level, you'd better do everything you can."

Some of the changes, according to the memo, include:

  • Cutting ad purchases 40 percent by eliminating one-time buys in noncore media channels. Company officials wouldn't reveal ad expenditures, but it is several million dollars, Skerker said. Visteon spent $29 million on marketing in 2000.

  • Eliminating booth displays at trade shows such as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Paris auto show and the Convergence technology show in Detroit. Such shows can cost Tier 1 suppliers more than $1 million in booth, materials, personnel and travel. Visteon will participate in other ways, Skerker said, such as featuring a technology trailer and vehicles and hosting a reception room at January's Consumer Electronics Show.

    "The best way to share is the individual tech shows for all our customers, and we still are doing that," she said.

  • Reducing auto racing support by more than 60 percent.

  • Cutting the number of global press releases, which cost nearly $10,000 each to distribute through wire services, and reducing public relations agency support.

    n Reducing the frequency and scope of several internal communications products, including the company newsletter and in-house TV network.

    Visteon plans to provide more information on 2002 expectations in early January.

  • You can reach Amy Wilson at awilson@crain.com

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