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Car firms shifting focus

2013-10-04 10:16

By Li Fangfang (China Daily)

Car firms shifting focus

Above is an Audi car displayed at the 10th China Changchun International Auto Expo in Changchun, Jilin province, on July 20. The German brand helped promote six films where its cars made an appearance, either on the silver screen or at online video portals, in the second quarter. [Photo / Xinhua]

Product placement in films offers new road into drivers' awareness, Li Fangfang reports.

Get ready for the screen debut of a made-in-China car. A new alternative-fuel vehicle is set to appear in the most popular vehicle-related Hollywood movie, Transformers.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd's Trumpchi E-jet, a plug-in hybrid vehicle, will have a prominent role in Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth film in the series directed by Michael Bay, which will hit cinemas next year, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the process.

It also said that the E-jet, a concept car that made its debut at the Detroit auto show this past January, will be blown up at least 14 times in the film, which is being shot in the United States and China.

In 2011, Transformers: Dark of the Moon grossed $165 million in China.

No further details have been disclosed by the movie's producers. An anonymous Guangzhou Automobile insider told Reuters that the Guangzhou-based vehicle company hopes the film will lift Trumpchi's brand awareness in overseas markets.

Gu Huinan, vice-general manager of GAC Motor, the passenger car subsidiary of Guangzhou Automobile, said earlier that the company aims to develop aggressively in the global market over the next three to five years.

It's set a target of 100,000 units of overseas sales for the Trumpchi brand by 2017, or 20 percent of total production, compared with several hundred units so far.

No doubt, General Motors Co's successful product placement (a technique also known as embedded marketing) in the Transformers series has set a global example.

"My six-year-old son Duoduo has no concept about cars. But whenever he sees a Chevrolet on the road, he points at the logo and shouts: 'Bumblebee'," said Wen Jie, 33, a university teacher.

Given her son's enthusiasm for Transformers and Bumblebee, she bought a Chevrolet Malibu instead of Toyota Camry.

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