It has worked for popular movies and television shows, so why not for cars?
Move over "Making of Indiana Jones" and make room for "Making the Mazda Miata."
Hard on the heels of the success of Mazda's new two-seat sports car, the Japanese auto maker is distributing a pair of hard-cover, coffee-table-sized volumes detailing the development of the Miata, conceived and designed at the auto maker's research center in Irvine.
The actual title of the $25 two-volume set is "Miata: Mazda MX-5."
And while it is not exactly burning up the best-seller charts--available as it is so far only through Mazda dealers--Mazda is considering releasing the specially commissioned set to retail bookstores, a company spokesman said.
For Employees, Enthusiasts
Mazda officials say that the company initially commissioned the two-volume set to be sold to employees and, through dealers, to car enthusiasts--both those who buy Miatas and those who don't.
But the success of the topless two-seater, which took seven years to develop and was instantly hailed by Road & Track magazine as one of the world's five best automobiles when it was released earlier this year, has prompted visions of a larger publishing success.
(And the very fact that the book is available just a few months after the Miata's introduction shows that Mazda has been well-aware of what it has in the low-priced convertible. It took 10 years for the company to come out with a book about the making of its successful rotary-engine, two-seat hardtop, the RX-7.)
Holding Its Price
Still--unlike the Miata itself, which lists as low as $13,000 and is being sold by some dealers for as much as $18,000 and resold by individual speculators for prices that reportedly run into the high $20,000s--there are no reports of the books going for more than list price.
David Long, sales manager at Campbell Mazda Costa Mesa, said few customers even know about the book because it has just come out and really isn't being retailed by dealers.
"Our fleet manager just got his personal set this week," Long said, "and is thinking about ordering more from Mazda so we can give one to every Miata purchaser. But customers don't even know about it yet. They have a hard enough time finding the cars, or even a sales brochure."
Richard Werren Jr., general manager of Werren Mazda in La Habra, said Friday he was not aware of the book and said he would ask his sales representative why he hadn't received one. "Anything that helps promote the product is usually a good thing to have," he said.
Then, after a thoughtful pause, Werren said that in the case of the now hard-to-get Miata, another promotion "might be a little bit of an overkill, though."