CHEVROLET TRIMS ADS FOR CAMARO; MULLS MORE

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General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet division has cut advertising for its slow-selling Camaro.

Several magazine ad sales people, who spoke on condition they not be identified, said Camaro ads have been pulled from their publications for the rest of this year, beginning with the June issues.

"This is more than just a cut," said one magazine executive. "They're reassessing the brand," and could go as far as eliminating advertising for the car.

NETWORK TV ADS CUT, TOO

Network TV advertising for the Camaro also has been cut. Chevrolet officials acknowledged they have reduced advertising for the model, but a spokesman declined to be specific.

Rick Wagoner, president of General Motors Corp.'s North American Operations, said GM is not about to drop the Camaro and its sister, the Pontiac Firebird.

"They're going to be with us at this point for several years," he said. "We've got the money invested in them, and we've got the plant running."

But Mr. Wagoner added: "It's going to be hard to justify a repeat of that product."

TO DROP OR NOT TO DROP?

GM has been debating whether to drop the Camaro, the Firebird or both. The two cars were scheduled to stay in production through the 2001 model year.

According to Competitive Media Reporting, Chevrolet spent $926,000 on network TV for the Camaro during the first two months of 1998, compared with $2 million in the same period of 1997. But some of that money was shifted to spot TV. It spent $592,000 on spot during the first two months, compared with $58,000 in the same period last year.

Chevrolet spent $24.4 million on advertising for the Camaro last year, per CMR.

EFFECT ON FIREBIRD

As for the Firebird, two magazines said Pontiac had not pulled advertising for the car.

A Pontiac-GMC division spokesman declined to comment on Firebird advertising.

Pontiac-GMC spent $20.1 million on advertising for the Firebird in '97, the CMR data show.

Mr. Wagoner said GM hasn't "found that a higher level of advertising, incentive support and general promotion has really helped to grow the volume very much" for the Camaro and Firebird.

Mr. Washington is a staff reporter at Automotive News

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