LOS ANGELES -- Kia and Mazda are looking for dinner dates.
Both brands recently began marketing campaigns catering to fans of haute cuisine in major U.S. cities in an effort to get their vehicles -- the redesigned Mazda6 and the new Kia Cadenza -- onto the shopping lists of more luxury-minded consumers.
Kia teamed up with restaurant reservation service OpenTable.com to promote the upscale Cadenza sedan at high-end restaurants in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles. Attendees will test drive the Cadenza, snap some photos and, of course, have dinner. The Cadenza, Kia's most expensive sedan, tops out at about $42,000, including shipping.
Mazda will offer test drives of its Mazda6 to restaurant-goers in 15 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Houston, Phoenix, Denver and Tampa, Fla.
Mazda "brand ambassadors" greet customers at valet stations at the restaurants and offer test drives to patrons when they arrive for their reservations. Patrons also will receive a gift card for the restaurant and a spice grinder with the Mazda logo.
The programs highlight how Kia and Mazda, two brands known for entry-level and middle-of-the-road products, are working to reach more affluent customers with their more upscale products.