INDUSTRY REPORT: Feb. 9, 2004 Page 3

February 8, 2004

Small Cars Making a Comeback? by TCC Team (2/2/2004)
Against all odds, small cars seem to be in the midst of a revival.

Compuware to Buy Covisint Assets

Detroit-based Compuware Corp. will purchase the remnants of Covisint, the online supplier portal envisioned as the ultimate web tool for partsmakers. Launched in 2000, Covisint was begun by the Big Three as a tool to transform parts procurement over the Internet. The Detroit Free Press says the transaction will involve a minimal amount of cash and will be completed within 30 days. The paper also pegs Covisint as the biggest Internet flop in Michigan's history.

Who Is BMW Kidding?

There's a war on for the hearts and minds of Gen-Y car buyers, but it could be years before they actually open up their pocketbooks. In TV commercials and auto show displays, automakers are turning to the latest pop stars and rock video directors to connect with young motorists. But with rare exception, these youth-oriented campaigns are likely to have little success — at least immediately, cautions Tom Purves, CEO of BMW North America. "You can argue that all the marketing we do to younger people is (really) aimed to get them to aspire to our brand, rather than to actually get them to buy today," he told With rare exception, the so-called Millennials are buying what they can afford — used cars. But there is a payoff in the long-run, because eventually, as they age, people try to buy the cars they aspired to in their youth, said Purves. BMW's average buyer is in the mid-to-late 40s, which is actually on the young side among automotive brands. A few nameplates have driven their demographics down, Mitsubishi the prime example. But the Japanese automaker learned the hard way the cost of offering easy credit to young buyers: roughly a half-billion dollars in loan losses. — TCC Team

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