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Toyota Showing Off Kentucky Workers

September 18, 1991

DETROIT (AP) _ Toyota’s U.S. television advertising for 1992 will include shots of workers inside the company’s Georgetown, Ky., assembly plant to show the largest Japanese automaker is a good U.S. citizen.

The Toyota ad introduced Wednesday would be the first national television ad by a Japanese automaker showing its U.S. workers.

The spot is part of a campaign that also includes ads for Toyota’s new cars and trucks, with a spotlight on an all-new Camry, the company’s most popular car.

Ren Rooney, corporate marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., said the factory ad was designed to heighten Toyota’s U.S. profile, not counter the ″Buy American″ theme used by some companies and organized labor in the past.

″We just want people to know we build cars″ in the United States, he said. ″In the long run, it will show Toyota Motors as a participant in the United States.″

Toyota’s Kentucky assembly plant, which began building Camrys in 1988, is undergoing a major expansion. It will be the source of about 80 percent of the redesigned 1992 Camry cars sold in the United States next year, Rooney said. The rest will be made in Tsutsumi, Japan.

The 60-second ad is similar to a series of ads done by General Motors Corp.’s Saturn Corp. subsidiary, which began production in Spring Hill, Tenn., last year.

Like the Saturn ad, Toyota’s Georgetown ad shows cavorting horses, lots of sparks and autoworkers happily doing their jobs. Unlike the Saturn ad, the Toyota workers all gather at the end of the ad to throw their arms up in the air and leap, a feature in Toyota ads for the last three years.

The ″Toyota jump″ is absent from the new Camry ads, however. In fact, those advertisements are substantially different than Toyota ads in the past, just as the new Camry is different from its predecessor.

For 1992, the car has expanded to mid-size from a compact and has a completely new interior and exterior, borrowing somewhat from Toyota’s luxury Lexus cars. The Camry ads show futuristic settings with lots of laser beams flashing around.

Toyota has a lot riding on Camry, the fifth most-popular car in the United States last year with 284,595 in sales.

″We’re calling this the launch of the decade,″ Rooney said.

The company expects to sell about 300,000 Camrys in 1992, compared with an estimated 284,000 this year, a 5.6 percent increase. Base prices for the new Camry will range from $14,368 to $18,848, a 4 percent increase on average.

Also Wednesday, Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln-Mercury Division showed off its new advertising for 1992. The Lincoln theme will be the nameplate’s heritage and Mercury will use old music to target somewhat younger buyers.

The Lincoln ads harken back to the 1930s when the Continental was introduced and feature the prestige of the name. Mercury ads will feature the Cole Porter song ″Night and Day″ in different tempos for different cars.

Perhaps most intriguing about the division’s advertising is the back page of an eight-page brochure with a blurred picture of the new Lincoln Mark VIII, expected to be introduced in late 1992.

Division marketing manager Steve Lyons declined to say how much would be spent on advertising, but said Lincoln spending would be up by about 50 percent while Mercury’s will be up only marginally over this year.

Lincoln sales need the most help. Through the first eight months of this year, sales of the Continental, Mark VII and Town Car were down 22.2 percent. Mercury sales were off 3.6 percent.

Overall, Lincoln-Mercury sales are down 10.5 percent while the industry as a whole is down 13.4 percent.

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