Super spenders at Supber Bowl
A 30-second TV spot on the Super Bowl Sunday, Jan. 31, costs $1.8 million, and three automotive companies decided the exposure is worth the cost: Honda has bought the fourth commercial during the second quarter of the football game. Oldsmobile will take 60 seconds to tell viewers how the division has changed during the last five years. And Volvo will tie its Super Bowl ad to a $1 million truck giveaway sweepstakes.
MIGHTY MINI - The Japanese auto industry has a new sales champion. The Suzuki Wagon R minicar outsold the Toyota Corolla 206,548 to 196,498. The Wagon R inherits a well-worn crown. The Corolla has been No. 1 for 30 years.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FROM DETROIT - Journalists and manufacturing executives around the world can breathe easier: Press days for the 2000 North American International Auto Show will not begin on Jan. 2. Though no new date has been set, Joe Rohatynski, a spokesman for Detroit's auto show, said the original start date has been scrapped. With the press days originally slated to begin Jan. 2, journalists and executives faced flying, not partying, on Jan. 1. Also, some feared the so-called Y2K millennium computer bug, which could disrupt air traffic on Jan. 1, 2000. A decision on the new date for press previews is expected this month.
BAD BLOOD - The bad blood between two automotive retail rivals is evident again. 'You can't just acquire a bunch of traditional auto dealerships and slap a new name on them,' said Austin Ligon, president of CarMax Group, in a Jan. 19 press release. Ligon appeared to be referring to competitor Republic Industries Inc.'s well-publicized project in Denver, where it has put the 'John Elway AutoNation' tag on 18 new-car dealerships. A spokesman for CarMax said Ligon simply was describing CarMax's philosophy of 'build-it-from-the-ground-up.'
PALS: CADDY AND HARRY - Cadillac could not resist a gentle 'I told you so' after it snuck by Lincoln to win the 1998 luxury sales crown. Many media sages had written that Lincoln would win. So Cadillac passed out to reporters a doctored version of President Harry Truman holding up a newspaper declaring Thomas Dewey the winner in 1948. The new