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(July 2, 2001) -- American Suzuki Motor Corp. kicks off a cross-promotion July 5 with retailer Bed Bath & Beyond.

Shoppers can pick up a $30 gift card at the chain or online for test-driving the XL-7 sport utility and enter a sweepstakes to win the vehicle and the retailer's merchandise. Bed Bath & Beyond will promote the deal in its circulars and postcards. Dentsu's Colby & Partners, Santa Monica, Calif., created the logo and newspaper ads for Suzuki dealers.

The promotion runs through Sept. 10. The automaker hopes to generate 10,000 test drives for the XL-7, which debuted last fall with a national cable TV push. The launch continues in USA Today and on nationwide cable TV, although the ads offered deals in the first half of the year.

Eric Nichols, senior advertising specialist at Suzuki, said the demographics of Bed Bath & Beyond match those for the XL-7. The SUV's target audience is married women, between the ages of 24 and 54, with an annual household income of $72,000.

Suzuki hasn't traditionally been a big spender in traditional media, with just $34 million in measured media in calendar 2000, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. But spending in the first quarter of 2001 tallied $23 million, CMR reported. -- Jean Halliday

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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