Toyota, Hyundai gear new models to younger drivers

CHICAGO: Toyota and rival Hyundai each began PR pushes for new vehicles aimed at the 25- to 35-year-old market at the Chicago Auto Show last week.

CHICAGO: Toyota and rival Hyundai each began PR pushes for new vehicles aimed at the 25- to 35-year-old market at the Chicago Auto Show last week.

Hyundai rolled out its new Tucson, a small SUV, positioning it as a sporty and more full-featured alternative to the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV.

Toyota, meanwhile, introduced a redesigned Tacoma pickup truck, the X-Runner.

Toyota will host media events for the X-Runner this summer in preparation for the model's showroom debut in the fall. The automaker's key message points will be that the new, longer truck is fun to drive and can appeal to people other than those who need a truck for work purposes.

Toyota has introduced its Scion brand for so-called "Generation Y" drivers looking for edgy design, but it sees Tacoma appealing to 25- to 35-year-olds who want something a bit more mainstream, said Don Esmond, SVP and GM of Toyota Hyundai held auto writer events for the Tucson in August and September. It will use a network of PR firms it's assembled nationwide to reach local media.

Key message points will seek to position the Tucson as somewhere between reliable and sophisticated, and between athletic and daredevil, said Toni Honsowetz, PR manager at Hyundai. The Tucson's website, Hyundaitucson.com, is already online, a first attempt to generate buzz about the new model.

"We're looking into some really unique ways to tell consumers about Tucson," said Honsowetz.

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