Home' Local Media Today : February 2007 Contents FEBRUARY 2007
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Multimedia journalist, news organization consultant
Editorial director, Oceans Now
Lecturer, UCBerkeley Graduate School of Journalism
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increase of 7% in that same amount of
time for production AND also experienced
an increase in sales of 5.4% in 2005.
For North America, the growth of sales
seems stuck in a holding pattern as sales
of light vehicles can’t seem to get over the
17 million mark since ‘01. Cross over
vehicles are taking the place of Trucks and
SUV’s while passenger car sales have
remained the same.
This is important because big trucks such
as SUV’s provide a profit margin to the
car makers of 10 – 15% while passenger
cars are basically “break even”. North
America has put all of their eggs in one
basket by not anticipating the gas increase
and sitting on large profits while the for-
eign automakers have been improving per-
formance and looks of the passenger cars
they are putting out on the market.
When broken out, passenger car sales of
imports saw an increase of 5.2% over that
same time, while the US big 3 saw only
an increase of 2%. The bright spot in that
2 % is that Ford actually saw an increase
of 8.5%. In the light truck category, (the
largest profit margin for the Big 3), they
saw a decrease of 16.5%. Imports saw an
increase of 11.2% mostly led by the
Toyota Tacoma which is hitting record
numbers of sales.
Cross over vehicles (vehicles that are
somewhere between a passenger car and a
large SUV), have seen the largest increase
in sales (8.5% in the 3rd quarter of 2006)
SUV’s saw a decrease in U.S. sales of
15.9% for that same time period.
On the environmental front, car makers
are working feverishly to be the leaders in
the markets for “hybrid” type vehicles.
However, the cost of doing so is out-
weighing the demand or need, and the
vehicles out today are pricey.
Saturn Division, USA – Presented by
Jill Lajdziak, General Manager, Sales,
Service and Marketing
For their market niche, Saturn has now
journeyed to become the fastest “concept
to showroom” manufacturer in the market-
place & can take a car from “concept to
showroom” in 18 months. This is huge
considering that the reason that GM and
the other North American automakers suf-
fered because they couldn’t get a car to
combat the gas crisis in short enough time
compared to their foreign competitors.
They also are growing their portfolio with
the introduction of 10 new vehicles
between 2nd quarter 2006 and 4th quarter
2008. All will evolve. For example, the
Aura that came out in 3rd quarter in 2006,
will have its hybrid version come out in
2nd quarter 2007. The top demos of
Saturn customers are college graduates
(49%) and women (62%).
Saturn will also improve the online expe-
rience with a live chat room where buyers
can sinteract with each other or the local
dealer about a car you are looking to buy
or one you have already bought.
Saturn wants to work together with news-
papers and wants full fledged auto sec-
tions with both quality editorial and ads.
Newspapers are urged to get with local
dealer association presidents and find out
what they feel would be best for the deal-
ers in certain areas and what national
event sponsorships might translate into
local opportunities. Saturn’s agency is
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. –
Presented by Steve Jett, Manager,
National Advertising/Events and
For Toyota, it’s as simple as an
Engagement Marketing Philosophy.
They want to create a meaningful, authen-
tic connection to the Toyota products. In
that, you want to deliver an experience
that transcends traditional media. And
finally, make a lasting impression that
can’t be duplicated at the retail level.
Toyota is doing this through funnels. In
the beginning, they have to impact the
consideration of the demographics they
want to hit. Then, once that is conveyed
through the advertising message, they
want to begin a dialogue that will ulti-
mately impact the buying decision.
Toyota is youth-marketing their Tacoma
Truck by sponsoring adrenalin sports such
as skateboarding, X Games, etc. To get
into the heads of the Heartland of the
country, they are marketing their Tundra
Trucks at Bass Pro Shops, and B.A.S.S.
tournaments. And finally, for the environ-
mentally conscious folks out there, they
are marketing their Prius by sponsoring
the U.S. Swimming Team.
Local papers can find similar opportuni-
ties from their dealer associations and
dealers themselves. Have them put a car at
a fair, etc. For NASCAR folks, sponsor
race sections, etc.
Toyota has regional offices in San
Francisco, Denver, L.A., Cincinnati,
Chicago, Houston, Deerfield, Boston,
D.C. and Kansas City. They encourage
everyone to get to know the
Merchandising Manager or Truck
Manager in your areas to find out about
the opportunities that are out there for
Special thanks to NAA for conducting this
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