TORRANCE, CA: Toyota is rolling out a new PR program to back the introduction of its 2003 redesigned 4Runner midsize sport utility vehicle.
Regional media events showcasing the new 4Runner are planned in Detroit, Northern California, Atlanta, New York, and Fort Worth, TX, said Mike Michels, corporate manager of external communications for Toyota Motor Sales USA. Those markets are "where we can reach the largest share of the automotive media," he said.
The recent strike by West Coast dock workers caused concern that Toyota wouldn't have many of the 4Runners available to sell this year. But with longshoremen back at work, those concerns have abated. The 4Runner is one of the few models Toyota sells in the US that it still imports from Japan.
"A very large component of the marketing is going to be reminding consumers of 4Runner's off-road capabilities," Michels said of the new campaign.
Toyota has gotten 4Runner named the official vehicle for a new series on the Outdoor Life Network. Four finalists on that extreme-sports show will scale Mount Everest next May. Toyota already has sent a 4Runner to the climbing base camp 17,000 feet up Everest, making it the first SUV to reach that point, said Michels.
Golin/Harris International, which does project work for Toyota, is working on contestant media training for the show, and is producing Toyota-related press materials for the series.