Spike TV President Albie Hecht: Awards show will celebrate cars.
So far, though, car companies are holding on to their wallets.
The 90-minute show, called "AutoRox," is scheduled to air Jan. 25. Spike TV viewers are voting on the Internet for award winners in categories ranging from "The Ride of '05" to "Mid-Life Crisis Car 2005."
"It's a great way to celebrate cars," says Spike TV President Albie Hecht. "I believe the industry will see it as a real positive because there is no show out there celebrating cars like this one."
Automakers are providing vehicles for the show, Hecht says, but are not formal sponsors of the awards. "We don't want anyone to think the awards are in any way bought," says network spokesman Russell Datz.
Hecht says he anticipates that manufacturers will buy commercial time during the show. None has done so yet.
Rich Stoddart, Ford Division's marketing communications manager, says the automaker has not decided whether to advertise on the awards show.
"I suspect the audience will not be car enthusiasts as much as they will be the regular Spike TV audience," Stoddart says. "So how valuable that would be to automakers, I don't know."
The primary audience for Spike TV is men between the ages of 18 and 34. According to J.D. Power and Associates, men between 18 and 35 have bought 15.6 percent of new vehicles sold in the United States this year.
Gordon Wangers, president of AMCI, an automotive consulting company in Marina Del Rey, Calif., says the awards could give automakers useful insight into what young men like in vehicles.
"As a car marketer, would I want to know what young, single men consider the car of their dreams?" Wangers says. "Yes, it's important to know what they consider the high-image car, even if they are too young to buy it now."
The show's nominees for Car of the Year are the 2005 Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang GT, Lotus Elise, Mercedes-Benz SLK AMG and Porsche 911 Carrera S.
A 36-member panel that included industry executives, automotive journalists and race car drivers nominated three to five vehicles in each of the awards show's 13 categories. Spike TV is conducting the voting for the awards at the Web site autorox.spiketv.com. Voting ends Jan. 4.
Hecht says Spike TV is in talks with celebrity car buffs to host the awards show.
He says the show will honor an industry icon, whom he declined to identify.
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at [email protected]