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With new competition on the horizon, BMW of North America hopes the first TV spot for its restyled 2000 Z3 roadster will help it race past sports-car rivals.

The spot, slated to break this week, will be given to regional dealer groups, which will have the option of running it, according to Michael Erne, BMW's roadster manager.

"You may never see them in New York, but you may see them all the time in Atlanta," he said of the spot from Publicis, Dallas.

The TV spots follow print ads in USA Today and auto, business and lifestyle magazines.

This is a restyled version of the car BMW launched in 1995 as James Bond's car in "GoldenEye." The automaker will put its $100,000-plus Z8 roadster, due late this year, in the next Bond film, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's "The World Is Not Enough" (AA, March 1).

Most Z3s sell to empty-nesters, although affluent young people are big buyers, too, Mr. Erne said.


Other luxury sports cars are chasing adults 40 and over, but BMW beats the Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK on price, noted Jim Hall, VP-industry analysis for consultancy AutoPacific.

He said the Z3 has lost some of its appeal and needed to be freshened.

"It had started to taper off because there was more competition, and the vehicle was getting older," Mr. Hall said.

The Z3 has had little direct competition from Mercedes and Porsche because of the price difference, but Mr. Hall said the Z3 could be in for a fight in the spring when Audi releases a TT convertible.

"The Z3 has had a relatively interesting position in the marketplace because while the competitors appear similar, they have very different attributes," Mr.

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