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Geneva Motor Show: Vauxhall looks to social networks to promote new Ampera

A "Brand Campaign on Wheels" is how Opel marketing chief Alain Visser describes getting the word out on the new Ampera, the company's range extended electric car due to be launched in Europe later this year. The production ready version of the new Vauxhall Ampera

He said he is throwing the rule book out as far as traditional advertising goes. The Ampera message will be spread with viral campaigns and social network playing a big part.

"The car industry has got into a lot of habits," he said. "It has found it difficult to move away from the traditional television, magazines and billboards. I've told our marketing people and the agencies we use to throw all that away.

"I am looking for big ideas. We are looking at a new definition of mobility which is very challenging and exciting. We will launch a campaign that is in line with the philosophy of the brand - our marketing will be different."

Has he had any of those big ideas? "Yes, but you will have to wait and see. It's exciting because we can start from scratch as we are not replacing an existing car - it's a new product with a very strong brand statement."

A website has already been launched and the blogosphere is buzzing about the Ampera he said.

"There are a lot of people who already know a lot about the car and want to be among the first to own one. They are the early adopters"

Some 3,000 people have already expressed interest on the website and 850 have lodged a €150 deposit.

Visser added: "After the early adopters we then need to spread the net and the campaign will become more about education that information, telling people about the car."

The marketing chief also said that not all Vauxhall or Opel dealers will sell the Ampera. "There will be a good number who do because we don't want owners having to travel hundreds of miles for a service, but there is a considerable investment required in terms of new equipment, software and in the training of salesmen and service personnel."

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