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What Happened To New Car Brochures?

I feel like I have been talking a lot about automotive legacies that have come to an end.  Last week, I shared a story about the end of Camaro production in End Of The Line For Camaro?  As rumors swirled about 2023 being the last production year for Camaro, I explored the idea of ordering one.  I visited a Chevrolet dealer to learn more and discovered a couple of new things:

  1. While not certain, dealers feel this is the last year for Camaro.
  2. Most manufacturers no longer provide printed new car brochures.

The news about Camaro production did not surprise me, as car models (especially two door coupes) are dropping in favor of trucks and SUVs .  New car brochure availability did surprise me, as this has been my favorite shopping tool for decades.

In the era of online shopping, does the cost and effort to print full color brochures make sense?  Evidently, most manufacturers don’t think so. I know for sure that Chevrolet/GM, Ford and Toyota only offer “eBrochures” only available for download on their websites.  I get it, but still think it is a shame.  Brochures serve many purposes.  Only one of which is to inform of features and benefits.

Also, new vehicle inventories are still at historic lows.  Dealers and manufacturers are encouraging shoppers to order their new vehicle.  In light of this new custom, I think a printed brochure makes perfect sense.  It’s hard enough that you can’t look at a new car to learn about its features.  A printed brochure is a great tool for absorbing the details of your potential new  vehicle.

specification chart for 1985 truck

Car Brochures As Information

Prior to the expansion of digital marketing fifteen years or so, new car brochures were readily available in dealer showrooms and by mail from the manufacturer.  Even with the robust websites used by the manufacturers, you still can only view one element at a time. On a small screen.

In a printed brochure, you can quickly flip between pages to review lifestyle pictures as well as specification charts.  Even for the 1985 Chevrolet S-10 pickup, the detail in the brochure was valuable.

2022 subaru outback brochure

For the few brands that still offer brochures (like Subaru above), the quality of the pictures and brand messaging reads like a fine magazine (Better Homes & Gardens, anyone?).  Not everyone feels the same as me.  One new car salesman told me, “you can’t test drive a brochure…all you can get is a paper cut.”

You know what else you can’t get?  My sale!

Car Brochures As Art

As a teenager, I posted many brochure pages on my bedroom wall.  The centerfolds were usually the most artistic and aspirational elements of the catalog.  

Forget the Farrah Fawcett poster…give me a Z28 or Corvette brochure to hang any day!

I’m not saying this is an all or nothing proposition.  Online resources are good for providing basic information about a new vehicle, but car manufacturers are overlooking a valuable tool to attract young car enthusiasts.  What starts as a dream on your bedroom wall can turn into sale down the road.

Questions, Thoughts or Wondering Who’s Your Nanny?

Will the lack of a printed sales brochure prevent me from buying my next new car?  Not likely, however, it will certainly make me feel better about my decision.

Let me know your thoughts. Please email me at wct.billtaylor@gmail.com, or message me through the Vehicle Nanny Instagram or Facebook pages.

Want to learn more about me?  Go to this article:   Who’s Your Nanny?

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