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Imp Californian - sales briefing

Notes for guidance for sales briefing

Californian presentation

The first new model to be introduced by the Rootes Group in 1967 is the Hillman Imp Californian and the public announcement date is Thursday, 12th January.

Before we examine the actual car in detail let us consider first of all the market. The Hillman Imp Californian has no direct competitiors being the first in the field of fast-back-look cars for under £650 tax paid.

For Market Research analyses the home market is split into various categories and in order that direct comparisons can be made, this model is placed in the small quality car category. Rootes products already take over 40% of this market sector with three models: the Singer Chamois, Chamois Sport and Sunbeam Imp Sport. With the introduction of the Imp Californian, the aim is to increase this still further.

Now let's take a close look at this exciting new model and run through the major sales features and the specification. As you can see the Californian has a rakish fastback coupe styling with large sloping front and rear screens. These, and the new roof line, give a most distinctive appearance to the model together with exceptionally good visibility and inside a general feeling of spaciousness. Above the waistline the body of the Californian is completely new and the appearance is further enhanced by curved side windows which give shoulder room for four passengers. There are Californian badges on the sides and the rear. At the front there is an ingenious luggage compartment lock which is concealed in the front grille motif.

Turning now to the interior of the car, Rootes Design Engineers have cleverly retained space for four passengers within this new body shape and you can see that there is ample leg and head room in both the front and the back. The front bucket seats are fully reclining and are in fact to the same specification as those in the Sunbeam Imp Sport. At the rear there are two more individual contoured seats and these are of completely new design, giving maximum support and comfort to the rear passengers. With these rear seats, we have one of the most important sales features of the car. The seat backs are separate and you can see that either one or both can be folded forward for use as a luggage platform. This ingenious feature is exclusive to the Californian and is not found on any of the competition. To complete the luxury of the interior, the Californian is fully carpeted and trimmd to window height with ambla covered seating and full instruymentation to Super Imp specification.

Turning once again to the exterior you will note that new rear extractor vents are incorporated in the body to expel the air from inside the car to ensure a continuous circulation for complete passenger comfort in all weathers. This feature coupled with a normal heater and fan complete the highly efficient fresh air thru-flow heating system.

As far as the mechanical features of the car are concerned, the specification is exactly the same as the current Super Imp, although a change in the camber angle to the front wheels improves the general appearance, roadholding and should give even longer tyre life.

To recap let me reiterate the main sales features of this model.

(Quote from appendíx 'A' announcement letter)

To complete the picture let me review the competition. Firstly, the Hillman Californian has no direct competitors within its price bracket, being the firstn th field of fastback look cars under £650 tax paid. The closest competitors in its class are the Fiat 850 Coupe, Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet, Vauxhall Viva SL and the Triumph Herald 1250. Over all five competitors, the Californian has the unique feature of the ingenious rear seat arrangement, which allows either one or both of the seat backrests to be folded forward for additional luggage space. In addition the Californian has a range of sales advantages over all its closest competitors and a comparison chart detailing these will be made available to you. To highlight just a few, we score as follows:

Over the Fiat 850 Coupe we have a big price advantage as the Fiat actually costs £118 more tax paid. The Californian also offers reclining front seats, more headroom, front and rear, curved side windows, better fuel economy, full carpeting instead of rubber mats, rear extractor louvres, OHC aluminium engine, less frequent servicing intervals, wheel trims as standard and twin horns.

When we compare the Californian with the Triumph Herald 1250, we again have a price advantage - of £31 tax paid - plus smart fastback styling, reclining front seats, curved side windows, more shoulder room front and read, better fuel economy, all synchromesh gearbox, rear extractor louvres, OHC aluminium engine, door stowage pockets, headlamp flasher and wheel trims as standard.

Taking the BMC models together, the Elf and the Hornet, pricewise, the Californian represents much better value for money, although it costs £19 more than the Hornet and is the samne price s the Elf. The styling of the Californian is undoubtedly far more appealing, and we also have reclining front seats, curved side windows, more shoulder room front and rear, more rear headroom, all synchromesh gearbox, larger brakes, rear extractor louvres, less frequent servicing intervals, rear armrests, headlamp flasher and twin horns.

Lastly, when we compare the Californian with the Viva SL, we again have a price advantage of £24. Fastback styling compared to the more conventional styling of the Viva, reclining front seats, OHC aluminium engine, rear extractor louvres, better fuel economy, twin horns and door stowage pockets.

You will surely agree, therefore, that the Californian is extremely competitively priced and should certainly capture a good share of its market. It will appeal to a wide selection of prospects who are looking for the distinctive individuality which this model provides, plus the practicality of its four seats, good performance and exceptionally good economy.

This new model wil undoubtedly sell well, but it is obviously important that we single out prospects to whom the Californian's individuality will appeal and really go out after these particular car buyers.

I would like to close by giving you details of the National and Local advertising and promotional plans for this model.

Both the National and our Local advertisements will carry the striking headline -

"Hello Beautiful - Meet the new Imp Californian"

Rootes National advertisements will be featured on annoucement day in the Daily Express, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph together with the London Evening News and Evening Standard. The total circulation of these papers is just over 9½ million. In addition a provincial press campaign in the 13 major provincial papers is planned to take place within ¾ weeks of announcement. This provincial campaign has been timed to to have maximum effect at a time when we should be receiving good follow up supplies of the Californian.

To supplement the newspaper advertising, advertisements will run in the motoring press including Autocar and Motor and a number of general interest magazines, such as "Vogue", "Queen", "Harper's Bazaar", "Womans's Journal", "Country Life" and "Illustrated London News".

(Conclude by showing catalogues, direct mail shots, etc. and describe your own local promotional arrangements.)

These notes are on plain paper, no Hillman header nor signature present.

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