$50 Million to Polish Cars?

Kelmenson, Davis & Associates (KDA), a marketing advisory firm with ties to the automobile industry, is trying to raise $50 million a year to spend on fixing the image of Detroit's Big Three auto companies "via public relations and a cable TV documentary," plus "an informational magazine and website called 'American Drive,'" reports Jean Halliday. "The automotive and advertising industries have always been inextricably linked," states a KDA white paper (PDF). "They grew up together through the 20th century, driving both global economy and culture. Unfortunately, they still have a lot in common today: bankruptcies, layoffs, management turmoil, skeptical consumers, falling stock prices, antiquated structures, and the challenge brought on by globalization facilitated by new technology." But Halliday reports that the image makeover campaign is having trouble raising funds, "in spite of dozens of solicitations to influential industry leaders, dealers, lawmakers, suppliers and the UAW," United Auto Workers union.