Drive: Toyota gets desperate in light of stiff competition
Toyota says it didn't buy the media
By Joshua Dowling, Motoring Editor
The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday September 5 2002
Toyota has denied buying the media to give it a head start in this month's fleet-car battle but has admitted to "roadblocking" rival brands.
The company has signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Kerry Packer's publishing empire, which will give it extensive coverage for its new Camry.
The deal will see Toyota sponsor the homepage of PBL's Web site, Carpoint, for a week, during which mention of the Camry's rivals is banned. Holden launches the successor to the Commodore, Australia's biggest-selling car, in the same week.
The Camry also features on the cover of Packer's Wheels magazine, but the editor said it was an "editorial decision".
But Toyota has agreed to buy 10,000 copies of Wheels – which sells more when Fords and Holdens are on the cover – to compensate for any circulation shortfall.
Launching the Camry in Melbourne on Tuesday, the senior executive vice president of Toyota Australia, John Conomos, said: "We're not trying to buy the media, we've in fact reduced our spend in the last 12 months.
"We've become far more adept with more skilful use of the media. We're doing great things with the media giants in some sort of collaboration with the Packer press.
"We've done different things with roadblocking of media to announce the car and we've got interesting things going with the Internet."
The 10,000 copies of Wheelss purchased by Toyota are understood to be included in the magazine's circulation figures. If this occurs, it will not be an accurate reflection of how many people bought the magazine that month.
According to advertising analysts AdQuest, Toyota has spent $66.5 million on advertising over the last 12 months, $16.4 million more than Holden, which sells more cars. Toyota was ahead of McDonald's in ad spending over the same period.
The editor of Wheels, Ged Bulmer, declined to comment on speculation that Toyota had "bought" the cover.
"Things may happen in management that the editor doesn't necessarily know about, but as far as I'm concerned it was an editorial decision," he said.
"We get letters from readers ... saying they're tired of seeing Falcons and Commodores. We've had a lot of Falcons and Commodores on the cover in the past 12 months and we're keen to broaden our market and support the local industry."
Wheels: 17" Series 1 XR
Exhaust: VCT with no resonators & 3" mandrel from mufflers back, dump pipe
Pacemaker headers (Waste of money).
Air Intake: T-Series, K&N Filter.
Brakes: Calipers painted red, DBA slotted rotors & Lucas pads.
Fuel: Dual Fuel.
Dyno: 143 rwKw (Dynodynamics - shootout mode).
Heathcote: 15.87 @ 89.1 Mph.