Saturn's ‘Side by Side by Side' Confronts ‘Ford Challenge'
|Topics: Saturn, Ford
June 3, 2007
When you visit Saturn dealerships this summer, do not be shocked if you see parked competition there. It is just part of Saturn’s new campaign called ‘Side by side by Side.’ The new campaign is designed to rival the ‘Ford Challenge.’
General Motors’ Saturn brand will be rolling out fresh lineup this year. But what is more surprising is the fact that they could be seen paired with rival models on Saturn’s dealership lots. The Aura sedan could be seen parked next to the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.
The Aura, launched at the 2006 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), replaced the L-Series. The sedan is deemed product rejuvenation for Saturn to make the firm profitable and competitive with European import. It features the 252 hp 3.6 L V6 engine and a new 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission. The sedan is also equipped with the famed Saturn vent visor as well as stylish accessories and amenities to bolster a comfy ride.
The effort, a retail version of the overtly competitive "Ford Challenge" campaign by its cross-town rival, lets consumers shopping Saturn's Aura test-drive the Camry and Accord, as well, when they visit Saturn. The new campaign will be launched on June 11 and will run through July. ‘Side by Side by Side’ will be supported by national TV, print, direct mail, and point of purchase materials. Chevrolet also is thinking of a similar effort in support of its redesigned 2008 Malibu, which will go on sale this fall.
Scott McLaren, formerly the advertising manager, now managing both advertising and retail integration, said that retailers will get national and regional media support from GM, but will have to acquire the cars themselves through retail purchase or rental. But he said most of Saturn's 435 dealers are on board. "Very few have suggested they may opt out," he added.
McLaren said that the TV ad is intended to suggest Saturn's glow of confidence, that the automaker can put not one but two competitors' cars against its own, in its own dealerships. "If you look at the mid-sized sedan segment, our purpose has been to conquest sales - to reach consumers who might have defaulted to Toyota and Honda," he said.
By year's end the automaker will have also launched a new small car, the Astra, a high-performance version of its Vue crossover and a 2008 version of its hybrid-engine Vue. In February, the company also announced an "at home" test-drive program that lets consumers test-drive Saturn product lines at their convenience at their homes or offices. The company will also be featuring a live-chat on its Web site to let consumers speak with or chat with product specialists.
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