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Old 12-02-2002, 11:19 PM #1
TLuuV TLuuV is offline
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TLuuV TLuuV is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: NYC Area
Age: 47
Posts: 25
TLuuV is an unknown quantity at this point
Toyota uses 3-D technology to promote new 4Runner

By JULIE CANTWELL | Automotive News

Toyota Division has gone 3-D.

On Oct. 15, the automaker began promoting its redesigned 4Runner at using 3-D technology from Viewpoint Corp. in New York.

At the Web site, consumers can download Viewpoint's software for free, then take a virtual tour of the sport-utility.

"This is our first application of 3-D technology (online)," said Paul Czaplicki, Toyota's interactive marketing manager.

He said there is so much new technology in the 4Runner that the company decided consumers could learn more about it by taking a virtual tour of the vehicle than by reading brochures or other forms of communication.

"We're taking advantage of the Internet to explain benefits in a way that you can't do in traditional media," he said.

Automakers constantly seek ways to engage consumers and teach them about products in hopes of drawing them to dealerships. The Internet allows consumers to research as long as they desire, without sales pressure.

And it's cheaper for automakers than traditional media.

For example, a 30-second prime-time TV spot costs at least $200,000, depending on the program.

Viewpoint typically charges clients $5,000 to $125,000 for the first 15 months of service, then 15 percent of that for the next 12 months.

Czaplicki wouldn't say how much Toyota is spending on the 3D project, but he said it's less than one-quarter of the division's 2002 interactive budget.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., which includes Lexus Division, spent $13.9 million on Internet advertising last year, up 37.1 percent from 2000, according to Competitive Media Reporting in New York.

To form a digital image of a vehicle, Viewpoint typically uses a handheld laser scanner to scan the interior and exterior.

That image can be used many ways, said David Pollack, an automotive account director in Viewpoint's Orion Township, Mich., office.

Consumers can pop airbags, fold seats and view a vehicle's suspension. They also can spin the vehicle around, zoom in and out, change colors, and add and remove parts.

Toyota isn't Viewpoint's first automotive customer. In the summer, the company started working with Ford Division on Focus and Explorer projects, and it has begun projects for Volvo in Europe and Chevrolet.

Viewpoint's dot-com clients include Kelley Blue Book, Autobytel and MSN Autos.

Toyota's "mini site" for the 4Runner,, had 95,000 visitors from Oct. 15 until the end of the month.

Czaplicki said that number is high for a site built off Toyota's main site. And that will lead to more sales, he believes.

Toyota sold 5,363 4Runners in the United States in October, down 47.6 percent from the year-ago month. But dealers were just beginning to receive the new model.

Czaplicki said he'll assess the program's success in about three months, but for now plans to run it at least a year.

Said Czaplicki: "And we may consider using it for other products, where appropriate."

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