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How Chrysler CMO Plans to Fix 'Broken' Image

Old 01-14-2008, 05:52 AM
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Default How Chrysler CMO Plans to Fix 'Broken' Image

At least they're not kidding themselves and are striving to repair image issues.

[quote]How Chrysler CMO Plans to Fix 'Broken' Image
Meyer Unveils Corporate Push Touting 'New' Day at the 'New' Automaker

By Jean Halliday

Published: January 14, 2008
DETROIT ( -- "When people look at American cars, they just assume they might break."

That was the response of Deborah Wahl Meyer, VP-CMO at Chrysler, when she was asked to cite consumers' greatest misperception about its vehicles.
Deborah Wahl Meyer, VP-CMO at Chrysler,
Deborah Wahl Meyer, VP-CMO at Chrysler,
Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio

It is the job of Ms. Meyer, the former VP-marketing of Toyota's luxury Lexus brand, to turn that notion around. Chrysler's auto recall rate is about the same as those of Detroit's other two carmakers, she said.

Motor City will be watching closely next month as Chrysler breaks an ad campaign from BBDO for all its brands estimated at $25 million. Ms. Meyer showed the new commercial at the Detroit Adcraft lunch last Friday which is themed "the new day" at the "new Chrysler." The spots use third-party testimonials to tout Chrysler vehicles' interiors, quality, warranty and value. The idea is to show that the automaker has changed.

And indeed it has. Private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management bought a majority interest in Chrysler from Germany's Daimler last year and took the company private.

More than perception
This marks the third time since the late 1970s that the carmaker has advertised itself as "the new Chrysler," according to Todd Turner, president of consultant CarConcepts. "If it was only a perception problem, they could fix it with communications, and even so, that takes a lot of time and money."

Mr. Turner said auto recalls aren't a true barometer of quality since they apply only to safety-related problems. He recommended that Chrysler officials focus on all aspects of their products, including fit and finishes, ride dynamics and interiors -- citing the rattling and vibrating of the rear axle on an all-wheel-drive Dodge Caliber he recently rented.

It is clear Chrysler has a way to go in convincing consumers. Its three vehicle brands, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, all rank below the industry average and near the bottom among the 35 nameplates in consultant J.D. Power and Associates' 2007 Initial Quality Study. The study is based on responses from 97,000 buyers of '07 model cars and trucks 90 days after purchase.

Power's latest Vehicle Dependability Study, which surveyed more than 47,000 original owners of 3-year-old models, ranked the Chrysler nameplate just below the industry average, with Dodge and Jeep further down the list.

Chrysler's new models should help, since consumers tend to believe fresh products are improvements over older offerings, said Pete Hastings, senior VP and analyst at Morgan Keegan & Co.

Ms. Meyer said Chrysler's major launches this year include the all-new Dodge Journey crossover this quarter, the return this spring of the Dodge Challenger coupe muscle car after nearly 35 years and the redone Dodge Ram pickup this fall.

Chrysler will show the Challenger at the Chicago Auto Show next month. Ms. Meyer said the 9,000 preorders for the car, done via dealers, exceeded expectations.

She said the biggest difference between Chrysler and her former employers Toyota and Ford is how quickly the automaker can make decisions. A verdict on a new campaign or strategy can come within three days instead of three to six months. The coming ad campaign took less than two months to put together, Ms. Meyer added. "The pace of change is exciting."
The Motor City on the Ropes
When Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl Meyer took the stage at Detroit's Adcraft Club on Friday, there was an elephant in the room among the 1,000 members at the sold-out lunch. Chrysler's creative and media agencies had, just within the past two da
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:01 AM
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Default RE: How Chrysler CMO Plans to Fix 'Broken' Image

Don't forget Mexican produced. They have a plant down there as well.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:16 AM
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Default RE: How Chrysler CMO Plans to Fix 'Broken' Image


Don't forget Mexican produced. They have a plant down there as well.
...and if the rest of their plans go as scheduled, Chinese as well......
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:38 PM
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Default RE: How Chrysler CMO Plans to Fix 'Broken' Image

I was just at a Dodge dealership yesterday and I noticed that the interior quality was starting to improve on some of their models. I think they have a lot of work to do on the new minivans though. The hard plastics galore is not going to please the people who are coming from the previous generation models that had much better materials on the dash. I think that these guys might bring Chrysler back to a Lutz standard again, or at least I hope so.
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