ONE WOULD imagine that a car importer would have reservations about bringing a new brand into the country during an economic recession. But Peugot Citroen importer David Lubinski is confident that SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) will quickly develop a following among Israelis. Although the executive car introduced by Lubinski on Tuesday will not be marketed until the first quarter of 2010, it did give people something to think about. Lubinski CEO Dori Manor is confident that there will be buyers for the Chinese car regardless of the state of the economy. "There are always buyers," he said, adding that the introduction of SAIC into the Israeli market is a significant forward step in a changing world in which new markets and manufacturers are rapidly coming to the fore. The introduction of SAIC and other Chinese brands to the Israeli market will have a significant impact on bilateral trade. SAIC acquired British car manufacturer MG Rover in 2005, and the SAIC cars that Lubinski brought to Israel are based on Rover technology. On hand for the launch were Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jun, as well as several banking, investment and public-relations personalities, some of whom, in all probability, will soon be driving a Chinese car. Although it was essentially a marketing affair, it was impossible to ignore the political overtones of the launch, expressed in red, China's national color. The red Chinese flag flew alongside that of Israel. There was a red carpet upon which the cars drove. The most eye-catching car was a red sports convertible, and the young Chinese woman carrying the keys to the car on a red velvet cushion was wearing a red dress. The finishing touch was the red muffler on the microphone. SHILAV, WHICH specializes in baby and infant wear as well as toys, games and accessories, has invested NIS 2 million in an Internet site for the benefit of Shilav Club members who are in various stages of pregnancy. The site will offer professional advice via a regular newsletter on different aspects of pregnancy. This will be in addition to its regular marketing strategies. The name of the Internet site, Shilav Mihabeten, is a word-play on the company name and translates as "Integration from the tummy." The address of the site is shilav.co.il. Shilav is launching a NIS 500,000 campaign to promote the site. YALON SWAROVSKI Crystal Imports, which has the local franchise for the famed Swarovski Crystals, is opening a Swarovski boutique in the Ramat Aviv Mall at an investment of at least NIS 1m. Yalon has been designing crystal jewelry and household accessories for more than a quarter of a century. It is a privately owned company that markets Swarovski crystal in cooperation with Swarovski's fashion, jewelry, lighting and accessories experts. Yalon has now received an additional Swarovski franchise that will feature Swarovski-designed jewelry, gadgets and accessories. IN AN attempt to boost sales, numerous retailers have resorted to the "buy two get one for free" ploy, or buy one and get the second one for half price - or in some cases for only a shekel. A car-rental company can't offer this kind of bonus, although perhaps it could offer a voucher toward future hiring. But as an incentive bonus, Avis has chosen discount vouchers for purchases at Ben-Gurion Airport's duty-free stores. One wonders if there's a kick-back for Avis on the basis of vouchers used, because the duty-free stores will surely benefit from Avis's generosity. The vouchers include a $30 gift from James Richardson for purchases in excess of $300; 10 percent discount on all purchases in the duty-free sports shops; 5% discount on purchases in the electronics duty-free stores, plus an additional 3% on the purchase of a laptop computer; 10% discount on purchases at Sakal stores and free-standing counters at the airport; and a $10 gift for purchases in excess of $100 at the Emporium stores. The bonus campaign remains in force until April 20. IT MAY have nothing to do with the debates in the media as to whether milk is really good for you, but Yotvata is mounting a NIS 2m. image campaign to make the public more milk conscious. Its previous campaign utilizing the services of Michael Hanegbi was very effective, and he has been hired once more to convey the message that Yotvata milk is healthy, tasty and a most desirable product. Hanegbi will do this by trekking through the desert looking not for an oasis where he can quench his thirst with water, but for a carton of Yotvata milk - because that's all he wants to drink. BRICKMAN ADVERTISING Agency has won the Siemens electrical appliances account, which stands at NIS 3m. per year. THERE HAVE been countless newspaper articles and electronic media programs about the Americanization of Israel, but there's a sign that things might be working in reverse. After 22 years on the Israeli market, Ben & Jerry's ice cream has decided on a new marketing strategy and will change the text on its packaging from English to Hebrew. Avi Zinger, CEO of Ben & Jerry's Israel, says the company is investing NIS 500,000 in the change of logo and is also adding the words Sippur Haglida (the ice cream story). Who knows, Americans might buy up the cartons with the Hebrew text to take home as souvenirs. WHY DOES Supersol have to spend NIS 15m. on a Pessah campaign when it's almost impossible to move in any supermarket, regardless of what it's charging for products, in the week or two before Pessah? Supersol's huge outlay includes the money that it is paying to comedian Tal Friedman to be its presenter. Supersol believes that in this instance, a comedian can be more effective than a buxom blonde. In the campaign, Friedman, who is also an actor and musician, takes on three different identities: an army officer, a Polish stereotype and an educated upscale snob. SABON SHEL Pa'am (Old Fashioned Soap) is expanding its horizons and is investing NIS 1m. to move into the market of organic cosmetics. The new products have been tested by the French Ecocert Institute to ensure that they conform to international standards for organic cosmetics. The new products will be marketed under the Sabon Organic label. Sabon Shel Pa'am co-CEO Ronen Zohar is confident that the organic products will account for 5% of the company's total sales in 2009, but will fare much better in 2010, once the public has become more familiar with them.