Chrysler Chief Supports Reported Super Bowl Ad

Several reports indicate music legend Bob Dylan will be featured in a Chrysler ad to be aired during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

Byron Pope, Associate Editor

January 31, 2014

3 Min Read
New rsquo15 Chrysler 200 likely featured in upcoming Super Bowl ad
New ’15 Chrysler 200 likely featured in upcoming Super Bowl ad.

DETROIT – Chrysler reportedly will air an ad featuring music legend Bob Dylan during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, and the brand’s president and CEO says the pricey endeavor is worth the money.

Although the decision to air the spot, which costs millions of dollars in air time and production fees, ultimately is made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne and marketing chief Francois Olivier, Chrysler Brand President and CEO Alan Gardner says the NFL championship game remains the best way to reach a large and diverse audience.

“If you’re looking for awareness, people and eyeballs, and that’s your goal, the Super Bowl is going to have the most people that are going to tune in and watch anything at any time of the year,” he tells WardsAuto during a recent interview.

Chrysler in recent years has made a big splash during the Super Bowl with ads featuring rapper Eminem and actor Clint Eastwood. Although the automaker has yet to announce the product to be featured in the spot, it’s likely to be the all-new ’15 Chrysler 200, which is expected to be a volume product for the brand.

“Somebody made the comment to me that I had the right commercial in 2011 and the wrong car,” Marchionne says during a recent media roundtable, hinting the 200 will indeed be featured in the Super Bowl ad. “I think we now have hopefully the right commercial and the right car.”

Gardner, who has been on the job for less than three months, has his work cut out for him in 2014 to reinvigorate a brand that is lagging the overall industry. Last year, Chrysler-brand deliveries fell 1.8% vs. like-2012 to 302,492, according to WardsAuto data.

Several key products posted declines, including the current-generation 200, which saw a 2.4% drop despite significant rental-fleet volumes, and the Chrysler 300 fullsize sedan, off 18.4%.

The brand’s third product, the Chrysler Town & Country minivan, posted a 9.4% gain to 122,288 units, yet faces an uncertain future.

The automaker reportedly will offer only one version of its twin-minivan lineup, eliminating either the Dodge Grand Caravan or the Town & Country. Whichever brand loses its minivan likely will receive a 3-row CUV in its place.

Gardner does not reveal the future of the Town & Country, but hints a large CUV would give Chrysler an entry into a popular segment.

“It’s a potential for either Chrysler or Dodge,” he says. “It really doesn’t come down to (my decision) as a brand head, but I’d love to have that. But that’s why we have long-term product planning guys. To make sure the showroom makes sense.”

Any new products added to the Chrysler-brand lineup would have to not compete directly with other CFA brands, including Ram, Dodge, SRT and Jeep. As such, finding “white space” for Chrysler to compete in is difficult, Gardner says.

Even so, he’s confident the brand can grow volume, despite discontinuing the 200 convertible, a derivative Gardner says no longer made sense.

“Unfortunately, it’s all about the size of the segment, and the fact is it continues to shrink,” he says. “When you start playing in the niche segments, you’re effectively taking money and investment and time and dollars and putting it in that, as opposed to (something else).”

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About the Author(s)

Byron Pope

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

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