After 11 years of Chryslerdominated sponsorship, Barrett-Jackson is teaming up with Ford Motor Co.
Ford announced Friday that it will be “a key automotive sponsor” for the 36th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, scheduled to motor into WestWorld of Scottsdale on Jan. 13-21.
Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale’s most lucrative tourism event, has evolved in three decades from a couple of days of expensive car sales to more than a week’s worth of lavish festivities. Last year, it attracted about 250,000 attendees and an estimated 1 million-plus households that watched much of the action live on the Speed cable channel.
$100 million worth of cars were sold.
So far, Ford is the only major car manufacturer on board for the 2007 extravaganza, said Steve Davis, senior executive vice president for the Scottsdalebased auto auction giant. But Barrett-Jackson still is negotiating with Chrysler and General Motors, the final member of the big three, Davis said.
“Our goal has been to create a platform involving more than one (car maker) to add a lifestyle element for everybody who walks through the gate,” he said.
Last year the exclusivity deal with Chrysler ended, opening the door for Ford, he said. The 103-year-old automaker plans to sponsor Family Values Day, when everybody can pay a bargain entry price to ogle 1,000 of the world’s priciest cars. The company also will auction “a unique Mustang,” with proceeds benefitting legendary car designer Carroll Shelby’s Children’s Foundation, said Ford spokeswoman Whitney Drake.
And Ford will take over space in the massive event complex for a drifting track, a simulated two-car drag-racing display and a selection of racing, concept and street cars, Drake said. Drifting is a new form of auto racing in which drivers skid their cars sideways.
In past auctions, title sponsor Chrysler had dibs on the automotive display area of the elaborate auction layout. Ford muscled in some space at the last Scottsdale auction, Drake said. Based on customer data collected on site, the company decided to sign on for a much bigger piece of the Barrett-Jackson pie, including expanded operations at the Scottsdale event and new sponsorship of the company’s Palm Beach, Fla. auction in April. “Last year we were trying it out, and it was a huge success,” Drake said.
Neither Barrett-Jackson nor Ford would say how much the automaker is shelling out for the sponsorship. Chrysler signed on as title sponsor of the Scottsdale auction in 1995 and has been title sponsor of Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach since its 2003 startup. Ford announced in January plans to close plants and lay off 30,000 workers within the next six years.