• May 4, 2009
In the midst of being taken over by Fiat ("alliance" sounds too egalitarian) and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, Chrysler LLC fears that potential shoppers might forget that it's still in the business of selling cars and trucks. This sounds like a job for the Marketing Dept.! The automaker's message makers ran the ad you see here (click to enlarge) in "dozens of major newspapers across the country" over the weekend as part of its new "We Build" ad campaign. The tagline "We're Building a New Car Company" is accompanied by the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 200C Concept and Dodge Circuit EV Concept. The copy below the vehicles tries to explain in flattering terms without using the word "bankruptcy" that Chrysler's got some things cooking, its "alliance" with Fiat and the technology sharing that will result being the biggest carrot.
A couple things struck as odd, though. For one, only one vehicle shown is an actual production vehicle, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the other two being concepts, though the Dodge Circuit EV is in development (we've actually driven it). Two, when are marketing departments going to get that advertising in newspapers is not the best way to reach the most people with your message anymore? Honestly, had it not been for this post on Chrysler's employee communications blog, The Scoop, we would have never known because we don't read newspapers anymore unless they're offered on a Kindle. Chrysler says the ad campaign will continue in print, TV and radio later this week and highlight specific products, but still no web penetration. Save a tree people, go digital.

[Source: The Scoop]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have recently seen a new rendering of the redesigned 300C in one of the printed magazines (C&D, MotorTrend, I don't remember) and it looked much better, too bad I cannot find it online.

      Chrysler still has a lot of potential. They can be a 5 car brand with Fiat 500 (with Chrysler's winged logo in front, it suits the front of the car very well) at the bottom, then C200 and 300C as sedans, then Scarab look alike EcoVoyager as a crossover and Firepower as a V8 sports car (on a Viper chassis).

      And this is it, a distinctive look, easily identifiable as Chrysler, and no overlap with Dodge/Jeep. They can sell 400,000 of these vehicles per year in US, with little effort.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Matt

        Challenger sales are doing just fine. It's smart to build cars for different people because not everyone has the same tastes. Not with that said the Challenger really should be about 7/8 scale.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Part of the issue to me is, they don't have a good foundation with which to build. Sure the 300 is nice, and I love the Challenger... but a 5 year old, mid-range mid-sized sedan with bad gas mileage that is in need of a refresh and a muscle car aren't exactly going to drive the every day consumers into the dealership.

        What they need to start with is their low-end, and work their way up. Sure, the 200c will make a beautiful car if they can bring it out, even with a four, for $22,000 or so... but they're lacking a fuel efficient four to put in the thing.

        With cars like the PT Cruiser being classified as "SUVs," and getting 21/26 at best (and 19/24 in the auto - the option most of the drivers the vehicle is catered to are going to be buying) is really crappy gas mileage, both for a vehicle with only four cylinders, and for one that is on the lowest end of offerings (on the Chrysler side) that simply isn't acceptable. And if we go to the Dodge side, the Caliber's 24/30 certainly isn't horrible... but at the same time, it kind've is.

        When all your competitors offer vehicles in the mid to high 30s as starting points (read: low-end, subcompact offerings) and yours gets 30... that suddenly isn't good enough. Chevy remidied this with the Cobalt/G5 XFE, Ford redesigned the Focus to get 35 highway, but Dodge... they haven't done much. And while I personally, being 6'4, will probably never own a subcompact again (unless the Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Cruze are big enough to fit me), and therefore these numbers don't mean much when my mid-size gets mid-20s, a LOT of people buy subcompacts.

        Lose that demographic, lose a large LARGE percentage of the foot traffic in your dealership. There goes a ton of sales. The Chevy Cobalt/Honda Civic/Toyota Corolla don't sell hundreds of thousands per year without having a good reason to do so!

        Chrysler needs to develop a new four, go back to the drawing board, kind've like GM is doing. Turbo a small four, or whatever, to get that 35 MPG (or, in a couple years, that magical ~40 MPG benchmark). Combine new engine technology with more efficient transmissions, better drag coefficiency. Find a way to make the token Dodge boxy look BE good for a low drag coefficient. That needs to be part of R&D.

        Then, when Chrysler makes a small car that gets 35 MPG, it can focus on making an RT offering that maybe "only" gets 30 MPG. If it works for the Cobalt SS/Honda Civic Si, it can work for Chrysler.

        Then they can get a 200c out the door, with that improved four as the baseline engine, maybe bore it out a little, and put at least a five-speed auto/six-speed manual in there. Add more low-drag design, and voila, 32-34 MPG highway in a mid-sized, like the rest of the world. And after things like the 200c and even in a way the 300, there's no doubt Chrysler can make a decent interior!

        There, two cars that people will buy. Make an up-model Chrysler version of the small, 35 MPG Dodge, make it have soft-touch for $17,000 and market it well, and there you go, a non-fail, more Americanized Astra.

        Jeep... well, with the new Grand Cherokee as a stepping stone, they can hopefully improve their interiors and such to a point beyond 1995, and therefore branch out their brand appeal... and assuming gas stays below $2.50 a gallon, they have a shot at continuing to be the great, rock-crawling niche brand that they have been. If not, well, Hummer died for a reason - and Jeep simply hasn't followed that path because Jeeps didn't start out with $80-100,000 vehicles. A Wrangler is NOT four years' salary.

        Chrysler can do it. Let's just pray that if they chose to copy Fiat's designs, they copy the less ugly ones.
      • 5 Years Ago
      True dat.

      Theres also a reason why an online ad costs peanuts (few hundred to a couple thousand) compared to an ad in a newspaper, which can cost upwards of $50 000 for a full page ad.

      And with all the ad blocker programs, online ads are only going to get cheaper. Radio, TV and print are still, and always will be the #1 source for getting your message across.

      If you dont think so, then your product isn't selling.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Vehicular Vaporware. Yawn.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Funny thing is now dealers are trying to raise prices on Challengers instead of discounting what they have left.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chrysler actually has a full line of electric/hybrid vehicles. Allpar.com. Has all the info you need. Plus future designs and concepts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey i believe them, i think after this Chrysler will comeout a new company that will offer to the consumer what he wants and more. That 200C concept is a good start.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @zamafir Congrats, it looks like you can read wikipedia, or is it Motor Trend?

        If by based on a mercedes platform, you mean mainly suspension and seating... then wow, it is practically a Mercedes. I've seen quotes of between 15 to 20% of content being BASED off of Mercedes tech, not directly taken from. Chrysler didn't even want to use that much since the Mercedes' content was/is EXPENSIVE.

        What you are clueless about is Chrysler, before and during DCX. Chrysler had many car programs (using their own platforms) canceled after the merger. Work was already started on the LX platform - except that Mercedes forced Chrysler to start over and use (and license at a ridiculous cost) Mercedes' tech. Remember that the LX cars where supposed to replace the LH cars - which was actually an incredibly flexible and successful platform. So much for "Chrysler relying almost completely on a foreign company for successful platforms"...

        You also spit this BS out: "ending up where they were pre buy out - screwed because they can't afford to you guessed it, build their own cars profitably." Ah, again, Chrysler was a VERY profitable car maker before the merger. They had plenty of cash to develop their own cars, and wait - they were! Too bad Mercedes canceled these projects, and forced Chrysler to use various alliance platforms. Again, THAT is why you are clueless...

        Does this mean that they aren't using other companies' platforms? No, they are. They don't have much choice now after the hatchet job done by Mercedes' "superior" management.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ya it looks like the 200C is after the Fusion, I'm I right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess the 200 could be made out of Fiat Bravo or Croma....
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm just curious when Chrysler is going to be their own car company, and not someone reliant upon foreign platforms to do anything. The inclusion of a lotus with one off Chrysler bits doesn't do much for me. I'd really like to see what their plans are to return to actually designing and building their own lineup of cars. I'm thinking im about 5 years too early though, which is a shame.

        Maybe someone can explain what reason we have to expect this fiat alliance not to end up the same as the Daimler alliance (Chrysler relying almost completely on a foreign company for successful platforms, not making much of a margin because of it, and ending up where they were pre buy out - screwed because they can't afford to you guessed it, build their own cars profitably.

        I'm all for American car companies, but this circling around the drain bit needs to end if anyone's going to take Chrysler seriously.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree that the 200C would be a GREAT start.

        However, my first reaction to this new ad campaign is that it is complete B.S.

        Who really believes that the New New New Chrysler is really building a new car company? BBDO needed some kind of ad campaign, I suppose, but since they are using taxpayer money, this needs to be low key and cheap.

        There is a darn good chance that Chrysler won't even be able to restructure and will need to liquidate.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually the 200C is out to erase the shame we call the Sebring.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chrysler's marketing department is full of idiots.

      Examples:

      1) As a member of Chrysler's consumer advisory board, I remember they posted a question that read something like, "How do we best communicate the message that we are confident we build the best cars in the world?" I responded with, "You don't. Not even close. And getting a message like that out will only prove to the public that you're insular and/or totally delusional. MAKE your cars better, and THEN tell people about it."

      2) They ran the $300k "Thank You" ad when they received bailout funds.

      3) Employee Pricing Plus Plus. Enough said.

      4) They think that by putting "New" enough times next to "Chrysler" in ads, people will go for it.

      It's also worth noting that the reason they're going to print ads right now is because they're probably getting them at bargain-basement rates. Newspapers are desperate for ad revenue at the moment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For a car company that is looking to create a new image for themselves, that ad sure is about as boring as they come. Way the stand your ground with boring advertisements Chrysler! That is sure to help you "build a NEW car company".

      *yawn*
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm just hoping that the SRT division does not go away. Those are my favorite vehicles. I'm hoping they use a 392 in the new Charger/300/Jeep GC SRT's.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "A couple things struck as odd, though. For one, only one vehicle shown is an actual production vehicle, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the other two being concepts, though the Dodge Circuit EV is in development (we've actually driven it)."

      Because if they had shown three of their current offerings, the ad might have been mistaken for an Avis or Enterprise Rent A Car ad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Putting an ad in a newspaper is not really such a bad thing, author. I know it's the cool thing to do lately, but let's try to cut back on ripping apart Chrysler's every action.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Come see what we're building for you". I'd like to, but two of those three cars are concepts, and the other one isn't available yet.
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