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Chrysler doubling retail expenditures per vehicle

by David Zatz on

To start repositioning its brands, Chrysler is doubling the amount it spends on retail costs per vehicle, according to disclosures made in the five year plan discussion. Chrysler, which had cut discretionary ad spending (such as Google placements) for months before the plan, started running new campaigns just before, and appears to have increased its ad buys since.  The new Jeep campaign was, a day after the five year plan was announced, running across New York City, with Pennsylvania Station covered in banners that proclaimed “Jeep – enjoying the ride no matter who you’re with” and, localized for the city folk, “Jeep – knowing subway wind is not real wind.” The latter is consistent with targeting “aspirational” Jeep buyers.

Jeep’s largest group of owners is “Dreamers,” time constrained by family and work, but wanting authentic gear for the time they’ll be able to “do more and dream less.” The new campaign is “i live. i ride. i am. Jeep.” (e.e. cummings joke goes here.) The plan is to re-establish the brand with a new look, feel, and attitude; renew the customer-brand connection with lifestyle engagement; and deliver a clear call to sales action.

Jeep is aiming to double its global sales from 2008 numbers, and its leader, Mike Manley, wants to take it “back to its rightful place of being the global SUV brand.” Jeep was apparently the largest SUV brand in the world through 1990 and today is #6 in the world. Wrangler remains the anchor of the Jeep brand and will be refreshed in both 2010 and its 70th anniversary, 2011. There will be new derivatives and special models based on the Wrangler.

Core Jeep customers were truck-based, wanting capability and 4WD. Expanded SUV customers want unibody vehicles, fuel efficient, with on-road dynamics. The shift from truck to car based SUVs is growing. All Jeeps must have certain aspects; volume models have specific attributes in addition. (These attributes include the grille, short overhang, trapezoid wheel-arches, functional interior, open-air concepts, visibility, durable materails, handling in bad weather, advanced four wheel drive, towing capacity, and a variety of specific off-road capabilities.)

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