Have no fear, dealers hear
The National Automobile Dealers Association held its first Industry Relations Roundtable and Symposium last week in Chicago, inviting dealer council leaders, NADA line chairmen, Project 2000 committee members and factory representatives. The 100 or so attendees heard presentations on consumer demands, electronic commerce, public dealerships, brand management, market consolidation and used-car superstores. One of the speakers, Len Sherman, a partner with Andersen Consulting in New York, gave dealers a healthy prognosis. In other retail businesses where consolidation has occurred, the biggest players have not seized more than a 15 percent market share, Sherman said.
NINETY-SIX TEARS - 'Sadly,' writes author Mary Walton in the third paragraph of Car, her new book on the development of the latest Ford Taurus, 'after reading the completed manuscript, Ford management came to regret having allowed a journalist such a candid look at its operations.' Ford's displeasure highlights the press release for the book, and the letter to editors seeking publicity. On the book jacket, a Ford body engineer judges the car's curvy stampings: 'We wanted the cheap, easy ones. We got the hard, expensive ones.'
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Interbrand Schechter of New York recently sent out a number of mailings promoting itself as a leading brand-naming consultancy. It raised a few eyebrows at Automotive News, however, when it mentioned the Honda Tiburon moniker among its creations. As Automotive News readers know, Hyundai makes the Tiburon. When we asked Interbrand Schechter about it, Communications Director Lucy Rickett acknowledged the 'big error,' but said no one else on the mailing list called her on it. So much for brand recognition.
FAN FARE - Honda may have hit one out of the park. The automaker inked a three-year deal to support Little League Baseball, which makes it the first automotive sponsor of the peewee version of America's pastime. Honda, which already has given five Oydssey minivans, will donate money and products, and conduct fund-raising and community programs. The deal also includes alliances between Honda dealers and local Little League organizations. A Honda official said parents of the little sluggers are 'the right demographics for us, especially with the new minivan coming next year.'