Newcomer in pole position

Special Interest Swiss Tuner doesn't need pin-up girls to create the erotic effect of fast and tuned cars. The glossy magazine is now also available in French-speaking Switzerland.

Special Interest Swiss Tuner doesn't need pin-up girls to create the erotic effect of fast and tuned cars. Now the glossy magazine is also available in French-speaking Switzerland. "We didn't actually want to do the French edition," admits Khalid Widmer. Nevertheless, just one year after the launch of Swiss Tuner, the publishing director of X-Press Media AG is taking the plunge across the Röstigraben. Widmer says that advertisers, especially car importers, would have liked it to happen.Break-even this year Swiss Tuner is all about beautiful, powerful, souped-up cars. The glossy magazine is aimed not only at experts in the tuning scene, but above all at fans of sleek cars. But Widmer makes one thing clear right from the start: "You won't find any foxtails or pin-up girls here."
Swiss tuning enthusiasts are on a different level to their German neighbors, says the former regional sales manager of Automobil Revue. He also explained this to the two young publishers Roger Hugelshofer and Florian Tremp - who used to work for the trend magazines Insidemag and Vakum - who came up with the idea for Swiss Tuner. Widmer convinced them to focus on the high-price segment instead of "Volkswagen tuning" and immediately acquired a stake in the publishing house. German investor Dieter Neff also joined the company. Swiss Tuner was launched at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show with four issues a year. In 2004 there will already be six.
Khalid Widmer has not noticed much of the advertising slump. Swiss Tuner suffered more from the fact that the media budgets of the clients had long since been distributed at the launch for the Motor Show in March. This handicap will no longer apply in the new year. Clients such as Pirelli, Continental and Pioneer have already booked the entire year. Widmer hopes to close the year in the black in December.
Up to now, Swiss Tuner has mainly advertised domestic garages and accessory manufacturers alongside tire brands and car hi-fi manufacturers. Car importers are hardly represented. "Importers often resist with the argument that they have nothing to do with tuning," sighs Widmer. However, the cars shown in the magazine are always conversions of high-quality models such as Mercedes or BMW, all of which are approved for road use. The expansion into French-speaking Switzerland is intended to give advertising sales a further argument for attracting this customer group.
The next prank is already underway Clients from outside the automotive industry are hard to find in Swiss Tuner. The magazine does have a lifestyle section as a possible environment for car-related consumer goods advertising. But "motors and lifestyle are not an easy mix," Widmer knows. The publishing director already has a solution at hand: in the fall, X-Press Media plans to launch a second magazine that deals specifically with "car lifestyle".
Another lifestyle product has been on sale since last week: the music group EMI is producing the "Swiss Tuner CD Vol. 1" with numerous tracks by well-known techno DJs and "15 percent more bass for your car". EMI approached the publisher because a similar project had been marketed extremely successfully in Belgium, says Widmer. The campaign for the CD with TV commercials in all Swiss advertising windows cost EMI over 300,000 francs. If "Vol. 1" sells well, two to three CDs per year are planned.
The advertising potential for Swiss Tuner is obvious when the Swiss Tuner CD is soon blaring out of every open car window - so it doesn't matter if some people have a foxtail fluttering on their antenna.
Facts & FiguresSwiss Tuner will be published bimonthly from February with 35,000 German and 15,000 French copies. The French edition will be translated from German and will be expanded to include an original French article.
The magazine has around 2000 paying subscribers. All members of the Auto Tuning & Design Association Switzerland Liechtenstein receive 40 copies free of charge, and all members of the AGVS garage association receive one copy each. Swiss Tuner is distributed at its own stand at the motor shows in Berne, Geneva and Zurich.
The newsstand circulation is increased from 5000 to 7000 copies. New is
The magazine is available at all Kiosk AG branches. Sales are supported by the so-called "K-Promo" with poster displays. So far, Swiss Tuner has sold over 3000 copies per issue at kiosks. A single issue costs five francs. (sm)
Highlight for car freaks: Swiss Tuner magazine sets the pace.
Stefano Monachesi

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