Luxury car makers use online video to ignite customer interest

There's nothing quite like a test drive in a new luxury car. Getting a customer to that stage--which can often lead to a sale or lease--is another matter, which is why luxury car manufacturers like BMW (FWB: BMW), Daimler (FWB: DAI) unit Mercedes-Benz and others are recruiting bloggers to pitch an audience not touched by TV and newspaper ads and move them towards online car videos.

BMW, at least, seems to think using bloggers to drive customers to car videos works. It says it gained $110 million in revenue for its 1-Series line with a Web-only campaign. Others, like Mercedes and Volkswagen (FWB: VOW)--which is pushing Audis, not Golfs--are pushing on BMW and will no doubt be pushing on bloggers as well.

In a way it seems almost contradictory to push luxury cars on the Web since that's conceded to be the domain of youth and young people shouldn't have the money to buy a BMW or Mercedes. Not so, Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Berisch Gladbach, Germany, told Bloomberg.

"Generation Y is now reaching an age where it can afford luxury cars," Bratzel said.

More to the point, "Prospective BMW customers have a higher income on average, higher education, and this has a correlation to higher Internet usage," Florian Resinge, head of BMW's social media, told Bloomberg.

For more:
 - see the Bloomberg story

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