General Motors' product czar Robert Lutz doesn't want car clinics to dilute the Chevrolet Camaro concept's styling if the vehicle gets the OK for production. "There will be no clinics," he told employees at GM's tech center in Warren, Mich., a few days before the concept car's Jan. 10 unveiling at the Detroit auto show. One source said designers gave a collective sign of relief, since car clinics often have been blamed for watering down the styling of GM's vehicles as they morphed from concepts to production vehicles.
Clinics? Nix, says Camaro's daddy
The Ford Escape Hybrid will be featured in Ford Motor Co.'s Super Bowl commercial, Anne Stevens, COO of the Americas, said last week at the Washington auto show. The implication: Using the most costly advertising time there is for a techie truck rather than some super-sexy new design demonstrates the company's commitment to environmentally friendly innovation. Ford officials dropped another hint: The commercial will use a noteworthy new spokesperson, for this occasion only. Stevens said she couldn't leak the name - but she had a pretty good reason: "I don't know who it is."
You don't need a gazillion dollars to promote a brand, says Joe Eberhardt, the Chrysler group's marketing chief. Eberhardt told a Detroit audience that Dodge will use nontraditional marketing for its European launch this year. He cited the energy drink Red Bull as an example of a brand built with limited mass marketing: "Red Bull opted to fly under the radar, associating itself with extreme sports like cliff diving and hang gliding to convey an image as the ultimate energy drink." Although he likes the marketing, he hates the taste. Too sweet. Said Eberhardt, a German: "Many Europeans refer to it as 'Gummi Bear Juice.' "
American Suzuki Motor Corp. might add a mid-sized pickup in response to dealer requests. A pickup is "something we're considering," says Hirotaka Ono, Suzuki's director in charge of overseas marketing. It would have to be rear-drive, a technology not in Suzuki's lineup, he says. Ono also says there are "no plans at this point" to add a pickup by rebadging one built by another carmaker.
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