4 million and counting
Toyota's U.S. production odometer rolled past 4 million units in May, a milestone that took 11 years to reach. Of those vehicles, 2,064,575 have been Camrys, which Toyota began building in Georgetown, Ky., in 1988. The Corolla, built at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. joint venture with General Motors in Fremont, Calif., accounts for another 1,115,455. But Toyota could pump out its next 4 million in much less time. Toyota says a new truck plant in Indiana and wringing more production out of its three other plants (NUMMI, Georgetown and Cambridge, Ontario) will give it annual North American capacity of more than 1 million units.
AD EFFORTS HONORED - Marketers who have succeeded in connecting to people are being honored in today's Advertising Age. Six auto marketing executives have been named by the magazine to the 1997 Marketing 100. They are: Don Esmond of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., who emphasized the Camry's quality and customer service in executing a textbook launch; Joel Ewanick of Porsche Cars North America Inc., who targeted the 1997 Boxster campaign to help position Porsche as a more approachable, friendly brand; Tom Gruber, formerly of AutoNation USA and now with Republic Industries Inc., for devising an approach in which customers are 'citizens' that 'belong' to the used-car superstore chain; Paul Morel of Ford Motor Co., who used actor Jack Palance to pitch the 1997 F series; Ken Moriarty of Audi of America, who geared the Audi A4 campaign to use more of a 'human voice' with a less ostentatious approach; and David Rooney, formerly of Plymouth and now with Dodge Division, who took the Plymouth Breeze to the people by marketing the car at 500 events in 1996.
HIGH ROLLERS - Chrysler Corp. Chairman Robert Eaton and Dana Corp. Chairman Woody Morcott have joined an exclusive Boston-area investment firm that acquires small- and mid-sized manufacturing companies. Metapoint Partners of Peabody, Mass., has acquired 15 companies since it was formed nine years ago. The new investors joined a group of 32 current and former CEOs who are all Metapoint partners, including former Ford Motor Co. Chairman Red Poling. Eaton and Morcott were among eight new partners to join Metapoint. Each new partner, invited to join by an existing partner, paid a maximum of $500,000 to join.
NEST OF VIPERS - Almost 1,500 road warriors were expected in Orlando, Fla., for the Fourth Annual Viper Owner's Invitational which began Saturday, June 28, at Disney World. On the agenda for the five-day 'snakefest' were banquets, and clinics. Owners also were scheduled to turn in a few laps at Sebring International Raceway. And how did drivers of the rough-riding Dodge Viper get their roadsters and coupes there? Chrysler expects the 'vast majority' to have them shipped.