Starting later this month, 100 households in 10 cities will be loaned either a redesigned Lumina sedan or a new Monte Carlo coupe for two weeks. Each household will also receive a video camera to record family members' impressions of the vehicles. The cars and videotapes go back to Chevrolet, but the families get to keep the cameras.
The General Motors Corp. division is trying to generate visibility as well as get early feedback on the two new models. It also hopes the test drives will generate positive word-of-mouth about the two midsize cars.
The video recordings will supplement Chevy's other research into the target market for the cars, said Michelle Lange, assistant manager-passenger car merchandising.
"We want to learn more about how they use their vehicles," Ms. Lange said. "We want to see the car parked in the garage, to find out what other items are there."
Participating families have latitude in what to include on the tape, but Chevy will provide a checklist of vehicle features to cover.
Ms. Lange said Chevrolet will make the videos available to agency Lintas Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., to review for possible use in future advertising. However, the ad potential "isn't the primary reason" for the campaign, she said.
About 60% of the households taking test drives will be owners of competitive cars, while the rest will be Chevy owners.