Peugeot advertises its return to Mexico

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MEXICO CITY -- France's Peugeot is mounting an advertising campaign to herald its return to Mexico after 34 years. Peugeot pulled out of the Mexican market in 1963, but until this month Mexico was the only Latin American or Caribbean nation in which the company did not have a presence. Peugeot is spending $600,000 on advertising in November and December, says Latin American Director Gilles Couffon. The ad budget for next year has not yet been finalized.

Betancourt Barba Euro RSCG, Mexico City, designed the campaign proclaiming "Peugeot is back." A two-page broadsheet newspaper ad features the Peugeot lion logo on one side and on the other France's motto in French: "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite." The newspaper and magazine ads also use the tagline, "Experience the pleasure".

Two spots are also running on television and in cinemas, one of which features an unspecified sporty model zipping in and around cactus. This first stage of the campaign focuses on building the brand image and awareness. A second phase set to break on December 1 will promote specific product models.

Peugeot has opened four dealerships so far, located in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, the country's three biggest cities, and Puebla, an affluent city east of the capital. Mr. Couffon will open another in Leon, a growing manufacturing center in north-central Mexico, in December, and may open a second Mexico City location before year-end.

Next year Peugeot will open between one and six additional dealerships, depending on initial results, Mr. Couffon says.

The Mexican car market is dominated by the Big Three U.S. car makers and Germany's Volkswagen-- all of which produce here. Despite the 1994 peso crash, European cars such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW have made in-roads, and Peugeot is targeting the higher-end market niche. Peugeot cars sold here are manufactured in the company's Chilean plant, taking advantage of the free-trade agreement between Mexico and Chile.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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