Thursday, August 11, 2011

Risky PR - Outback Australia in Auto Marketing

If you've been follow the happenings on the fringe of the auto industry lately, you've probably heard about Mercedes-Benz of Australia's trek into Outback Australia along the Canning Stock Trail in a fleet of six new Galandewagens. Well, if you didn't get to the end of the article, five of the broke due to rear shock failure (I don't know how that makes a G-Wagen undrivable but I digress...) and had to have parts air lifted to the scene.

Well as it turns out, this isn't the first time a trek into the Outback has ended in less-than-stellar PR for a company attempting to score some points with the motoring public. Toyota, of all companies, decided to pull the same stunt in the early 80's using untested cars directly off of the assembly line, all piloted by members of the domestic automotive press. I can't say that a trek across marked yet unsealed Northern Territory roads is the same as a drive across livestock trails but nevertheless it is a challenge for either vehicle. In the case of the Toyota, resulted in several burned up differentials, crashed cars, and suppliers with their tails tucked between their legs.

The article detailing the adventure and marketing lesson below came from an annual publication called Australian Motoring Year; a hardcover book put out by some of the top Australian journalists. It's really an awesome read and gives great insight into the highly competitive and home grown nature of the Australian auto industry in 1984. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Quick Range Rover plug (directed at Mercedes even though I love the G-Wagen). Land Rover made a PR-aimed raid on the Darien Gap in Central America. They made it but it was not easy or cheap.