State fair is serious business for car companies

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by JASON WHEELER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwheelertv

WFAA

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 4:57 PM

DALLAS -- It’s almost like you’re living in a giant truck commercial at the State Fair of Texas.

With slick lighting and sound presentations, automakers are making a conspicuous presence at Fair Park to roll out their latest creations.

“This is like an auto show at a state fair, and it’s the only place where you see that," said Ford Motor Company President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs. "It’s fascinating.”

His company and other automakers are trying to reach the three million or more people expected to flock to the fair in the next three weeks. And Hinrichs say car companies are well aware that many in the crowd “love their trucks."

For those who make trucks and sport utility vehicles, attendance at this fair is almost considered a must.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity. That’s why everybody is in the game here,” said Steve Flynn, a regional marketing manager for Chevy.

The Chevy/GMC brand says Texans buy 25 percent of all the sport utility vehicles they sell in the U.S., and an even greater percentage of the trucks they sell. That’s why the 2015 Suburban and Tahoe are being revealed at this fair by none other than the president of GM.

“It doesn’t get any more important than that," Flynn said.

Similarly, Ford says one-in-five of its trucks are purchased by Texans, and that drivers in the Lone Star State buy two-of-every-five of the higher-dollar, top-of-the-line models, like the new King Ranch F-250 being unveiled at the fair.

“This state fair is very important to us," Hinrichs said. "This is the only state fair in the United States where we bring this kind of show.”

And they’re not just about show. Chevy wants you to drive, too.

“We’re expecting to do 50,000 test drives in 24 days -- a brand new record,” Flynn said.

Forget the Ferris wheel. At this state fair, they hope to sell you on a more substantial kind of ride.

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

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