LOS ANGELES - Nissan Division approached former Chrysler Corp. chairman Lee Iacocca to be its advertising pitchman late last year, Nissan officials disclosed.
In a series of meetings, held in November with Iacocca, Nissan Division General Manager Mike Seergy and Nissan public relations chief Jason Vines tried to find a way for the outspoken U.S. supporter to become a spokesman for the Japanese auto company.
'When Mike told me the idea, I thought he was crazy. But then I put together a pro-and-con list and it was clearly pro. Lee really would have cut through the clutter,' Vines said.
'Here's a guy who knows good cars, and when he speaks he tells the truth. People trust him. And it's not a stretch to say Nissan has good cars,' Vines said.
Nissan was even willing to do co-marketing with Iacocca's electric bicycle enterprise, EV Global Motors.
The talks fell apart because Nis-san needed Iacocca for the November-January stretch, and Iacocca was not ready to pull the trigger that quickly, Vines said.
The talks are permanently over, he said.
'In the end, I'm glad we didn't do it, because the campaign would have broken on Dec. 21, right before the Detroit auto show,' Vines said.
'Everyone would have been talking about Nissan and Iacocca, and not Nissan and the Xterra, SUT and Z.'