FOR THE RECORD

A year after launching its Asuna brand of small cars and sport-utility vehicles, General Motors of Canada has announced it is folding the line into its Pontiac trademark.gm introduced Asuna during the tenure of Michael Erdman, the company's former vice-president of...

A year after launching its Asuna brand of small cars and sport-utility vehicles, General Motors of Canada has announced it is folding the line into its Pontiac trademark.

gm introduced Asuna during the tenure of Michael Erdman, the company’s former vice-president of marketing who was fired in August amid reports of poor relations between the marketing department and the dealers.

Erdman had championed the concept as a way of introducing gm’s successful new Geo line, sold through Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealers, to Pontiac-Buick dealers.

According to gm, Asuna was not selling in sufficient numbers to warrant the pricey ad campaigns needed to build the brand name.

The decision to terminate Asuna was made by Tom Mason, who became gm’s new vice-president of marketing in September.

Mason says his decision was influenced in part by Isuzu Motors’ earlier decision to discontinue its car manufacturing operation.

Japan-based Isuzu makes the Geo Storm and Asuna Sunfire coup, both of which will be unavailable after 1993.

‘The next few years will be a period of incredible growth in the [mutual fund] industry,’ and it will be the smart mutual fund marketers who benefit the most, says Larry Wolf of Toronto’s Wolf Advertising.

Wolf made the remarks Dec. 16 in Toronto during a speech to the Investment Fund Institute of Canada.

There are roughly $1.4 trillion invested in mutual funds in the u.s. versus roughly $70 billion in Canada, a ratio of 20:1.

Wolf told the audience, which contained the managers and marketers of many of Canada’s largest mutual fund companies, they must identify the segment of the market they wish to pursue and then develop a ‘brand identity that sets them apart from everything else competing for the consumer’s attention.’

In addition, he said Canadian mutual fund marketers would do well to look to the u.s. for examples of innovative distribution strategies.

‘In the u.s., a very substantial volume of mutual funds are sold through direct response marketing,’ Wolf said. ‘We have hardly scratched the surface of this potential in Canada.’

Similarly, Wolf said two major u.s. players have opened retail offices, noting ‘with so much of Canada’s population so geographically concentrated, this seems like an obvious opportunity.’

Wolf Advertising has been the ad agency for Toronto mutual fund company AGF Management for the last seven years.

Schlitz, the popular u.s. beer known as ‘the beer that made Milwaukee famous,’ has crossed the border into Canada.

Schlitz, which is brewed in the u.s. by Jos. Schlitz Brewing of Detroit, is being brewed under licence in Canada by Sleeman Brewing and Malting of Guelph, Ont.,

Introduced to Ontario beer drinkers in December, it is available in 12- and 24-returnable bottle packs at Ontario Brewers Retail outlets.

Sante Fe Beverages has added Heineken to the stable of imported beers it markets in Canada.

Effective Nov. 25, Heineken Canada appointed Sante Fe, which is a division of Molson Breweries, to handle sales and marketing for Heineken bottled and draught beer in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.

Thrifty Car Rental is introducing a fleet of wheelchair-accessible rental vehicles at major airports and downtown locations in Ontario.

The fleet will consist of specially converted Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager minivans. Ottawa is providing 75% of the conversion cost as part of an incentive plan to encourage accessible ground transportation for the physically disabled.

Rental rates will be the same as for a regular minivan and Thrifty staff will provide additional assistance to handicapped customers if required.