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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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July 2009 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Printed brochures soon to be a memory?
By Michael Louie
 

All automotive literature collectors should know that several car manufacturers are doing away with printed brochures under the guise of being "green".

 

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Just recently, BMW of North America has put a new policy in place to no longer send out printed brochures via phone or web requests. They will only e-mail or offer PDF download of a near identical version. Furthermore, they will stop sending out printed brochures to the dealers. This has already happened with the just released 2009 7 series.

GM has also recently indicated that all their brochures will soon be available on the Web for downloading. Also, Hyundai and Lincoln did not print brochures even for some of their 2009 models.

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Even in years past, getting any brochure especially the prestige version had become difficult unless you were being sized up as a serious prospect. The dealers have to pay for its brochures beyond the first free box from the factory. It is very sad to see the demise of these very colorful and often lavish marketing materials.

 
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To me, an electronic version is no substitute to having a convenient original hardcopy with its special paper weight and tactile feel. Personally, I would not buy from a dealer without getting a brochure.

 

I am old enough to remember that when television first came out, people started throwing out their radios. Life changed, and yet there are more radios today — too many types to enumerate — than ever before!

I am sure dealerships will keep handing out brochures for a long time. Brochures are user friendly advertising. The sight of a glossy, color catalog brought home from a dealership is put on a table or desk and the appeal to read it and view the photos is very tempting. It usually does get read and it is a second reminder to buy that car. Advertising works and brochures are not forgotten as quickly as a deleted email or download. Plus other family members and friends may read it too and if they like what they see, they may urge you to buy the car. Most dealers know that. And they know expensive cars with plush brochures work really well.

- Robert McLellan

 
 
 
  R E A D E R S   C O M M E N T S  
 

I have a comment for your article about the demise of printed brochures. I work at a Ford store and have for some time, as you know. This year, we didn't even get a box of FREE brochures for some models (such as the 2009 Mustang and Fusion). They exist but we had to pay for all of them. As you said, Lincoln is already cutting back on brochures (a shame, as theirs were often some of the more elaborate brochures out there.) I really hope the printed brochure won't go away but I think the writing is on the wall. Even if they do print them, many dealers won't order them as they cost a fortune (Ford used to sell us a box of 20 for $35. Now they sell us a box of FIVE for $11. So many dealers just don't even bother. This I think will go even further towards driving the printed brochure into obsolescence.

They definitely are already cutting back on the more elaborate items, like the little binders we got when the new Thunderbirds came out that looked like copies of the old Car Fact books from the 50s. Or the hard-bound limited edition Ford GT books each dealer got (I was smart enough to snag both before they got tossed Also, the dealer materials are getting less elaborate. The 2010 Color and Trim books are in cheap binders with little flair (although really, For hasn't really putt effort into their Trim books since the 80s. Although I admit, those little transparencies were knid of useless, but they were neat.)

In any case, it's a sad day indeed. I guess we should all cherish the literature we have.

Seth Klinehoffer - July 2, 2009

 
     
 
 
     
 

With respect to the demise of bound, printed brochures, given the popularity and accessibility of the Internet it is in some ways surprising that announcements such as BMW's and GM's haven't happened sooner. (There is a nice 2009 hard-bound BMW 7-Series brochure, as I'm sure you're aware.) You're likely right that auto sales brochures will continue to be with us in the future, but maybe only from manufacturers wise enough to understand that the style of the brochure is an extension of the image they want their product to convey.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure this matters with bread-and-butter cars, for which a showroom kiosk could easily dispense data downloads presumably at a fraction of the cost of a printed brochure. Do you think the average Kia buyer will care?

What I'm already beginning to see are gaps in product literature. I never did find a 2009 Buick La Crosse brochure, or brochures for Toyota Sequoia and Tundra, or Hyundai Accent, or Infiniti EX35, or Kia Amanti, and so on.

It may become increasingly difficult to know whether we collectors are searching for a brochure that exists.

Peter Kraus - June 23, 2009

 
 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, July 2009
 
 
 
 
 
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