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Drew Dowdell

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Chevy dealers "mad as hell" - target Tundra with ads


According to a recent Brandweek article, Chevy dealers are tired of waiting around for GM to dispute Toyota's Tundra claims, and they're doing something about it with a series of ads attacking Toyota and its pickup.

One radio spot written by Mark Frost, general manager of Jim Ellis Chevrolet in Atlanta, claims Toyota recalled more vehicles in 2007 than it sold. "Folks, the reality is Chevrolet is better for you, your pocketbook and America," the ad says. Frost is well-known in the area for displaying a Toyota Camry in front of his dealership. Oh yeah, it's crushed beneath a Chevy Silverado. A Toyota representative called the recall claims "ridiculous."

The Chevrolet dealer network is also circulating an e-mail attempting to discredit one Tundra ad claiming the truck is pulling 10,000 pounds up a steep grade. The e-mail claims the Tundra did not, in fact, pull a trailer loaded with 10,000 pounds of brick, but instead hauled a 5,000 pound trailer and itself (another 5,000 pounds) to equal the claimed 10,000. Busted! But wait. The ad's producer says it can document and prove the trailer was actually loaded with 10,000 pounds. Snap!

It's really a shame to see Chevrolet dealers stoop to this level. Seriously, what do they fear? In February, Toyota only sold 10,000 Tundras to Chevy's 59,000. We say the best way to sell vehicles is to present the facts (facts, not propaganda) to the customer. With enough truthful information, buyers should be able to at least choose the best vehicle for their needs, if not the best vehicle period.

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Guerilla marketing can be very effective in instances where your competitor is lying. I think GM has been far too nice to Toyota in the past year or so. It has a few areas where it should be attacking Japan Inc. directly, but I guess the gentlman's agreement that Detroit has had for decades still holds for foreign competition, too.

Years ago when I was the proud owner of a successful video store, my main competitor ran a series of ads claiming to have "over 5,000 titles." I had regularly counted his inventory and knew that with his small store he couldn't even have half that, so I took his ad, framed it on my counter, highlighted his claims and put my own caption: "Who do you think has more titles?" It worked. My sales were up every year. Customers loved it. It must have had effect on him (well, he did close up a couple years later!) because I had several altercations with his staff shortly after that (witholding movies that my customers had dropped there by accident). If you are on the side of truth and that truth is obvious, it is very effective.

If it is nitpicking or trivial, then it can just come across as being petty.

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toyota's 4 star frontal crash tests alone can be exploited.

'if your truck wilts in a frontal impact, how can you expect it to hold up working hard for you? Will it outlast your payment book? xx percent of all chevy's registered since 199x are still on the road today'

'since when do Japanese know what Americans do with REAL trucks?'

Edited by regfootball
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