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Chevrolet's first Nascar-tied national event tour was such a hit with dealers, the General Motors Corp. unit is doubling its reach, to 90 stops this year.

Dealerships hosting tour stops last year saw daily attendance ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 consumers; sales spikes followed within a week or so of the two-day event, said Don Parkinson, brand manager of Monte Carlo, the tour's featured car.

"We're leveraging the popularity of Nascar," he said.

Nearly every dealer that participated last year has signed up again; as a result, Chevrolet may extend -- and expand -- the tour next year. This year's tour was booked in only seven days.

C-E Communications, a sister shop of Chevy's national agency, Campbell-Ewald, both in Warren, Mich., handles.


This year Chevy has also added a smaller version of the original tour adapted to meet the needs of 45 smaller, inner-city dealerships, which traditionally have smaller sales lots than suburban dealers, said Terry Dolan, assistant brand manager-marketing for Monte Carlo.

The smaller tour is faster to set up and tear down and is exclusive to dealerships, he said.

The larger tour will visit dealerships and other events, including 12 Winston Cup racetracks, this year.

The tour started out last month during the Daytona 500 weekend in that part of Florida and continues throughout 1998.

Dealers pay undisclosed fees to host the tour, which involves five show cars, including a Monte Carlo car like the one used by Chevy-sponsored driver Dale Earnhardt. Visitors can also play interactive games simulating a Nascar Winston Cup race and have their photos taken in a special Monte Carlo with Tasmanian Devil detailing.

The Warner Bros.' character is the car's new co-branding partner. Chevy Nascar racing suits and engines are on display at the events.

Mr. Dolan said the car marketer provides dealers with a promotion package containing print ad slicks, a radio script and how-to promotion guide.

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