CHEVY HIKES BUDGET 20%, AS MORE ADS SUPPORT S10 PICKUP

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[nashville, tenn.] General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet division ad budget for the 1998 model year will be 20% higher than the '97 budget, said Ron Sobrero, general sales and service manager.

The division spent an estimated $536.7 million on measured media in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

A chunk of the extra money will be poured into more ads for the S10 pickup, which has some exterior styling changes and a new instrument panel with a passenger airbag.

"We want to take the S10 out of the stepchild mode" from the full-size C/K pickup, Mr. Sobrero said during a media meeting here last week.

The S10 advertising campaign will pitch the truck as a lifestyle vehicle, rather than just a chip off the "Like a Rock" C/K, as has been done in the past.

"Those ads were good, but they were not getting through all the clutter," he said.

NO COMPACT RESURGENCE

Despite the planned marketing push, and a redesigned Ford Ranger pickup also hitting the market this fall, Mr. Sobrero doesn't foresee a big resurgence in compact pickup sales.

"Full-size trucks are still what everybody wants," he said. "The compact becomes an alternative when they can't afford a big truck."

But Chevrolet won't ignore its C/K pickup, even though the '98 model is the last of the current generation. An all-new pickup is expected to be introduced for the 1999 model year.

Mr. Jewett is a staff reporter at Automotive News.

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