NASCAR's Auto Manufacturers Meet in Detroit
NASCAR officials meet with each of its four participating car manufacturers periodically, but its meeting Tuesday at the Westin Hotel in Detroit will be different.
It will have representatives of all four manufacturers – General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Dodge – all in the same room.
The meeting will be much like the town hall meetings NASCAR has had with its race teams in recent years.
The manufacturers are looking forward to 2013, when a revised version of NASCAR’s current Sprint Cup car will debut. Each automaker will be given the opportunity to create more brand identity with the new car. The new NASCAR Nationwide Series car already looks more like a production car.
“We’re looking forward to the meeting,” Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. Vice President for Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, said prior to the race Saturday at Richmond. “We’re getting a very open exchange with all of NASCAR’s management on topics ranging from marketing issues all the way through competition and where we’re headed in 2013.
“I’m optimistic it’s going to be productive and I applaud NASCAR for getting us all together.”
Chevrolet has not announced which model it will race in 2013. Ford already has indicated that it will make the Mustang, which it is now racing in the Nationwide Series, it’s Cup car.
The four manufacturers already have worked with NASCAR on their 2013 designs.
“It’s been a very collaborative session that we’ve been having with NASCAR in both the car that we’re going to bring in 2013 as well as all the things that they’re doing on the marketing side and, candidly, we need to be linked into,” Campbell said.
NASCAR officials said no one incident or development sparked the meeting to bring all four manufacturers together.
"The idea was for us to be better communicators with the stakeholders — the broadcast partners, the tracks, the teams, the drivers," NASCAR President Mike Helton told reporters at Richmond.
"Obviously, the manufacturers are stakeholders and now we're kind of catching up to tell them the same information we're telling all the other stakeholders."
GM has the most teams in the Sprint Cup Series and 13 of the top 30 drivers while Toyota has eight, Ford has seven and Dodge has two.
“When everybody is promoting key benefits and key changes the sport is bringing, it’s a positive for everybody,” Campbell said. “This year, NASCAR brought an ethanol mix into the series, which is something we all advocated.
“Next year, [it’s] going to bring relevant technologies in – fuel injection is coming next year. Then 2013 making the cars we race closely connected to the cars that we sell in the showroom is a priority for Chevrolet and the others.”