For some, trucks are about panache, not power
Diaz: More choices for consumers
DETROIT -- As the economy improves, marketers of full-sized pickups are devising strategies to snag first-time buyers and lifestyle buyers who are returning to the vehicles.
Tried-and-true messages about toughness and dependability will remain central to the launch messaging of the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, said Maria Rohrer, Silverado marketing director.
But she also wants to attract lifestyle pickup buyers -- people who don't need a pickup for work -- by pitching new features such as the Silverado's built-in bumper step and Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, she said.
"The truck is so functional in so many different ways," Rohrer said. "It has been portrayed more as a work truck for a long, long time and we're looking to expand that perception."
Rohrer declined to disclose Chevrolet's marketing budget for the truck, but said this year's launch will be very comparable to past Silverado launches.
Automotive News reported in 2006 that General Motors earmarked almost $400 million to launch the previous generation of light-duty pickups. About $300 million was spent on the Chevrolet Silverado and $100 million on the GMC Sierra.
Ram brand chief Fred Diaz says the brand's truck marketing this year will pitch the Ram's technology and fuel economy to boost conquest sales.
"There still is a lot of fierce loyalty, but I think consumers, now that they see that they have other options and choices and that there could be a better truck out there, I think they're more willing to switch brands than they have in the past," he said.
He said Ram will also emphasize local event marketing to encourage test drives.
Toyota will launch the redesigned 2014 Tundra pickup this year. Jack Hollis, Toyota Division marketing vice president, says Toyota will want to win the battle for first-time pickup buyers or previous owners of smaller trucks.
"The guy in the Ford he has one intention: the next Ford," Hollis said. "We're not going after the loyalist. That's silly."
Instead, Toyota will go after "first-time truck buyers, move-up truck buyers as well as some of those people who were a little disenchanted with what they thought they were getting from their domestic truck."
Brad Smith, director of Polk's loyalty management practice, says the longer owners hold on to particular vehicles, the less likely they are to purchase their next vehicles from the same brands.
Larry P. Vellequette contributed to this report
You can reach Ryan Beene at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Ryan on