As a promotion of its return to national network TV as a series sponsor, General Tire recently sent a young man dressed in jungle garb to the offices of TIRE BUSINESS. Josif Bean, owner of J. Bean's Magic, Costume & Novelty Shoppe, Willowick, Ohio, made quite a hit with his pet South American green iguana, which very comfortably rides on his B'wana's shoulder during public appearances.
During May and June, General is sponsoring four segments of the ``Continental General Tire Wildlife Adventures'' on CBS-TV's new series, Eye on Sports.
In conjunction with the promotion, General has produced a new advertising package for dealers that includes radio scripts, billboards, point-of-purchase materials-but no live lizards. Too bad.
Yum, Yum, eat 'em up
There were double takes a-plenty by showgoers passing the booth of Parma, Idaho-based Enviro-Progress at the recent American Retreaders' Association World Tire Conference & Exposition in Louisville, Ky.
Amidst literature and a video on the firm's equipment for grinding off-road tires-sold under the Diamond Z Manufacturing brand-was a bowl of the finished product: tire chips. Alongside it was a bowl of black licorice of the same shape and texture, sans wires and threads (we think).
It was a little disconcerting to see people dip into the bowl, then put a handful of ``chips'' into their mouths. We've heard all about the health benefits of adding some fiber to your diet, but.....
Driving acar isn't cheap
The cost of owning and operating a new car continues to climb, according to the American Automobile Association.
AAA's 1994 edition of ``Your Driving Costs'' indicates the annual cost of owning and operating a car has increased 0.7 cent per mile for 1994 to 39.4 cents.
Higher tire costs are part of the reason. The AAA report shows that tires now cost motorists 1 cent per mile, up from 0.9 cent in 1993, for an increase of $15 annually.
Also contributing to the increased costs were higher depreciation expenses, as well as hikes in the cost of insurance, taxes and license and registration fees.
Offsetting these were lower fuel costs and a decline in finance charges, which limited this year's driving costs increase to under a penny a mile, the AAA said.
AAA's cost estimates are based on computations made by Runzheimer International, a Rochester, Wis.-based management consulting firm.
Overall, in 1994, motorists will pay an average of $5,910 in ownership and operating costs, up 1.8 percent or $106 from last year.
Ah, fiscal belt-tightening has indeed taken root in corporate America.
The percentage of firms furnishing high-level execs with company vehicles has reached an all-time low of 57 percent, after peaking in 1985 at 80 percent.
But among those that still have them, the average number of VIP cars per fleet has grown.
Runzheimer International also reported that foreign nameplates now make up 27 percent of these fleets, compared with only 17 percent two years ago.
Can anyone think of a less appealing name for a car than the ``Impact,'' which General Motors Corp. calls its electric car?
As David Kelly, president of IDEO Product Development, put it in the ``Parting Shots'' section of the Beck Arnley WorldParts Corp. newsletter: ``I'd like to challenge them to come up with a worse name for a car-maybe `Head-on.' ''