An apple for the teacher? How about a used Volkswagen?
Volkswagen division's Certified Pre-Owned brand has a new marketing partnership with the National Education Association. VW Certified says the demographic characteristics of the teacher union's 2.7 million members closely match its customer base.
VW's sponsorship began in September and runs through January, says Patrick McFall, the company's general manager of certified pre-owned and corporate sales.
McFall says the NEA "is a well-run organization and it is big. We look for partnerships with the correct magnitude."
McFall would not discuss the demographic profile of VW Certified buyers.
The NEA's Web site says the average U.S. public-school teacher is 43 years old and has an annual income of $46,752. Three-fourths of teachers are women, and all have college degrees, the NEA says.
As part of the promotion, VW is offering NEA members 2.9 percent financing for 60 months on the purchase of a certified vehicle. That compares with 3.9 or 4.9 percent on 60-month contracts for other buyers, McFall says.
VW Certified is sponsoring a Web site, vwteacherappreciation.com. Teachers can visit the site to enter a sweepstakes. The grand prize is a two-year lease of a certified used New Beetle. The prize is worth about $7,500, VW says.
The program includes a donation by VW Certified to a California middle school the union is helping to renovate.
The brand is advertising in the NEA's monthly magazine.
McFall would not estimate how many sales of certified used vehicles VW expects the NEA promotion to generate. In all, he says, VW projects sales of 50,000 to 52,000 certified vehicles this year.
VW division sold 3,600 certified used vehicles in October, 13.5 percent fewer than it sold in October 2004. It sold 42,444 certified used vehicles from January through October, 6.5 percent fewer than in the year-ago period.
Overall, the industry sold 127,657, certified used vehicles in October, 4.4 percent less than it sold in October 2004. Industrywide certified sales totaled 1,358,421 vehicles from January through October. That was 3.0 percent more than in the year-ago period.