Joe Isuzu comes back - no lie
American Isuzu Motors is bringing back spokesman Joe Isuzu - honest. The lying car salesman of the '80s was yanked in 1990. 'We let Joe Isuzu become the story and there was not enough focus on product,' said Duke Hale, American Isuzu's COO. 'In the newer version of Joe Isuzu, Joe won't be the liar, he won't be a salesperson. He'll be the Isuzu factory spokesperson, but he'll still be a little smart, shrewd, cunning, very funny.' Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco recreated Joe, who again is played by actor David Leisure of 'Empty Nest' fame. TV spots break this week in major markets. 'Joe Isuzu did a wonderful job of building traffic into showrooms, and that's what we want to do now,' Hale said.
GRADE ON A CURVE - Ford Division ranked dead last in the most recent dealer attitude survey of the National Automobile Dealers Association. So the executive committee of the Ford National Dealer Council is asking dealers to go easy on the company as NADA completes a fresh survey in February. Bad grades are 'not good for the value of our franchise,' the executive committee said in a memo sent to all dealers last week. Dealer anger over Ford's Blue Oval certification program drove the division to the bottom of the class.
DIVISION OF LABOR - GM CEO Rick Wagoner, speaking at a breakfast to promote the upcoming SAE Congress, noted that for alliances to succeed it is important for each company to know its strengths. Referring to Arv Mueller, GM Powertrain chief and SAE Congress chairman, Wagoner said, 'Arv and I, we know each other's strengths. On the alliance side, when it comes to talking about combustion chamber design, I let Arv handle stuff like that. When it comes to drinking with the Chinese, that's my expertise.'
SPAMMED? General Motors and Hormel Foods Corp. revealed an interesting partnership last week. The food giant, maker of Spam, is supplying GM with a binding agent made from animal protein collagen to form sand molds used for casting metal parts. 'Who would have guessed that a food product would be used in the production of your automobile's engine block?' said Hormel CEO Joel Johnson at Hormel's annual shareholders meeting last week. Richard Schreck, GM's principal research scientist, said the collagen binder GMBond will help reduce costs in producing metal parts. Traditionally, Johnson said, toxic chemicals have been used to bind sand to create molds. The sand they bind is not recyclable, and this presents a 'severe pollution problem,' he said. GMBond is an alternative to those chemicals.