Performance driving to sell 3 series
BMW will market its new 3 series directly to 50,000 potential buyers with a performance driving instruction program.
The Ultimate Driving Experience for potential buyers starts in Chicago on 20 July. It will feature four test tracks to train drivers in braking skills, accident avoidance, traction control and handling. They will take place at motor raceways, sports stadiums and large outdoor camping parks.
Sessions are by invitation only. BMW will identify potential buyers through various marketing efforts such as golf tournaments and its Internet web site.
'Once we get them behind the wheel, we'll likely sell them a car,' said Jim McDowell, vice president of marketing for BMW of North America Inc. McDowell said BMW brand ads don't sell cars, they just reinforce the brand and position it against competitors.
Frank S. Washington
Seville ads seek new image
Cadillac has launched a massive, integrated advertising and marketing campaign to convince consumers that the redesigned Seville is competitive with German luxury cars. It wants the Seville to be regarded as a performance sedan.
So far the pitch is working. Seville sales in the five months to May are 23.9 percent ahead of the same period last year. Through May, 1998 US sales were:
Mercedes-Benz E-class: 19,554
Cadillac Seville: 15,224
BMW 5 series: 12,731
Among other approaches, Cadillac is offering shoppers bonus points on their Neiman Marcus credit cards in exchange for test driving a Seville.
Frank S. Washington
McCarthy to retire
Frank McCarthy, 63, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, will retire 31 December 2001.
McCarthy has been chief executive of NADA for 30 years. He gave the board more than three years' notice so it could look for a successor and maybe change the organization.
'Dealers used to be pretty much the same 20 years ago, so NADA services would apply to all dealerships,' says McCarthy. 'Today, you've got Republic Industries and other public companies that are growing. You've got the Ford Retail Network - that's a completely different category (of dealership). We have to find ways to serve them that are meaningful.'
GM's Pearce has leukemia
General Motors Vice Chairman Harry Pearce has been diagnosed with leukemia.
The cancer was detected during a routine checkup, and Pearce had not been ill, said GM spokesman Richard Nelson.
The spokesman said Pearce will continue with his duties.
Pearce, 55, was named vice chairman in 1996.
Pearce's duties include overseeing the corporate staffs, Information Systems and Services, Allison Transmission Division and Hughes Electronics Corp.