In the general hub-bub before the Automotive X-Prize kick-off event yesterday, we cornered Progressive Insurance's President and CEO Glenn Renwick for a few brief moments to get his thoughts on the prize. I mean, it's his company that is putting up the ten million dollars in prize money, so you can bet he's thought long and hard about paying someone that much for a freakin' car. While insurers are not usually known for being happy about seeing money go out the door, Renwick said he hopes the company does indeed fork over the money at the end of the race. Renwick said (rightly, IMHO) that he considers the sponsorship to be simply another way of advertising, and as such is coming out of the company's general advertising budget. You might now see fewer Progressive ads on TV, but you'll be seeing the name much more here on ABG. Fair trade? That's not for me to decide.
Look at it from another angle: if we don't figure out a way to move to highly-efficient personal vehicles (and higher gas prices continue climbing as a reflection of dwindling supplies), what would Progressive have to insure? This might be the best $10m they ever spend. Give Renwick a listen using the flash widget below.