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Advice For All Automakers On Where To Launch A New Car


Automakers launch new car models by taking journalists to a specific place, in order to be educated about the car, and to drive it.

But where to do it? What’s the ideal location?

My advice to all automakers remains the same: Do it at one of your factories.

It doesn’t matter if this particular factory doesn’t manufacture the specific nameplate that you are launching.  Do it at a factory anyway.

Touring a running car factory is always so impressive, that it never gets old.  It adds a lot of value no matter what.

The way it works in the automotive industry is that automakers “launch” a new car by bringing journalists of various stripes to a place where they will drive the car after having undergone a classroom lecture about the new product. This event typically happens within a month or so of the car going on sale at least somewhere around the world.

Typically, many months earlier, the product will have been shown for the first time (“unveiled”) at an auto show or at a dedicated event. That event typically does not entail driving the vehicle.

In this context, automakers ask industry observers for advice as to where to “launch” a new car. Basically, the question is about geography. East Coast or West Coast? Rocky Mountains or the desert? Forests or beach?

My advice is always the same to all automakers: If you have a factory in the U.S. (or Canada), do the product launch there.

The two main counter-arguments are these:

First: But we don’t make the car in that factory

It is not important whether the car that’s being launched is actually made in that factory. All that matters is that you make *some* car in that factory. It is always of extra value to see one of your factories in operation, even if it doesn’t produce the particular nameplate you’re launching this month or this season.

Second: But journalists are tired of going to factories, including this one

Total nonsense. Getting a factory tour never gets old. An automobile factory is always one of the world’s greatest wonders. Also, the automakers generally overestimate how many auto journalists have been to a good number of factories.

Hosting a new vehicle launch at a factory -- even if the subject car is not manufactured there -- is a superb opportunity for the company to showcase the complexity and accomplishment that goes into building the product that the consumer sees. It impresses even the most grizzled journalist.

That is my advice.

Disclosure: I am/we are short TSLA.

Additional disclosure: At the time of submitting this article for publication, the author was short TSLA. However, positions can change at any time. The author regularly attends press conferences, new vehicle launches and equivalent, hosted by most major automakers.