Toyota Plans Ads Featuring Some of Its American Workers

From Associated Press

Toyota's U.S. television advertising for 1992 will include shots of workers inside the company's Georgetown, Ky., assembly plant to show the largest Japanese auto maker is a good U.S. citizen.

The Toyota ad introduced Wednesday would be the first national television ad by a Japanese auto maker showing its U.S. workers.

The spot is part of a campaign that also includes ads for Toyota's new cars and trucks, with a spotlight on an all-new Camry, the company's most popular car.

Ren Rooney, corporate marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said the factory ad was designed to heighten Toyota's U.S. profile, not counter the "Buy American" theme used by some companies and organized labor in the past.

"We just want people to know we build cars" in the United States, he said. "In the long run, it will show Toyota Motors as a participant in the United States."

Toyota's Kentucky assembly plant, which began building Camrys in 1988, is undergoing a major expansion. It will be the source of about 80% of the redesigned 1992 Camry cars sold in the United States next year, Rooney said. The rest will be made in Tsutsumi, Japan.

The 60-second ad is similar to a series of ads done by General Motors' Saturn Corp. subsidiary, which began production in Spring Hill, Tenn., last year.

Like the Saturn ad, Toyota's Georgetown ad shows cavorting horses, lots of sparks and auto workers happily doing their jobs. Unlike the Saturn ad, the Toyota workers all gather at the end of the ad to throw their arms up in the air and leap, a feature in Toyota ads for the past three years.

The "Toyota jump" is absent from the new Camry ads, however. In fact, those advertisements are substantially different than past Toyota ads, just as the new Camry is different from its predecessor.

For 1992, the car has expanded to mid-size from a compact and has a completely new interior and exterior, borrowing somewhat from Toyota's luxury Lexus cars. The Camry ads show futuristic settings with lots of laser beams flashing around.

Toyota has a lot riding on Camry, the fifth most-popular car in the United States last year with 284,595 in sales.

The company expects to sell about 300,000 Camrys in 1992, compared to an estimated 284,000 this year, a 5.6% increase. Base prices for the new Camry will range from $14,368 to $18,848, a 4% increase on average.

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