Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wha's Happening to the World of Automotive Marketing?

Article by Bill Vlasic about Chrysler. What is Chrysler going to do with their future marketing efforts? Looks like big changes are in order.

DETROIT — Of the big American car companies, Chrysler has a well-earned reputation for extravagant marketing stunts.

The 2009 Dodge Ram pickup in a promotion at the Detroit auto show in January. James E. Press, Chrysler's vice chairman, hopes the automaker will be remembered more for its vehicles.

The debut of the new Dodge Ram at the Detroit auto show in January was typically over the top, as cowboys on horseback herded 120 head of cattle through the city to publicize the rugged appeal of the pickup.

Chrysler's new vice chairman, James E. Press, gamely played his part in a western-style jacket. "If you think that our truck is all hat and no cattle, keep an eye on yonder horizon," he said to an audience chewing on beef jerky branded with the Dodge logo.

But Mr. Press, a veteran of 37 years with Toyota who distinguished himself as a serious salesman of sensible Camrys and Corollas, was visibly uncomfortable in the role. He acknowledged as much in a later interview as he discussed how Chrysler must change to survive.

"We need to be focusing more on the substance and less on sizzle," he said. "Instead of being remembered for cattle, you'd like the Ram truck to be remembered for winning the showdown with the Ford F-150."

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