Chrysler Group Outlines Global Expansion Plans for the Dodge Brand
Auburn Hills, Mich., Jan 18, 2006 –
Today at the Automotive News World Congress, Joe Eberhardt, Executive Vice President Global Marketing, Sales and Service – Chrysler Group, spoke about the company’s global brand strategy, themed “Brands Beyond Borders” and provided the audience with the strategic direction that Chrysler Group has for the global launch of Dodge brand products and the laws of automotive product branding as practiced by the Chrysler Group under his leadership.
“Chrysler Group believes it’s only fair that we take the fight to our global competitors in markets where it makes sense for us,” said Eberhardt. “We are launching a major effort to take Dodge to international markets based upon Dodge’s very American core values.”
During the presentation, Eberhardt reveals his core beliefs regarding automotive (product) branding and how those philosophies contributed to two successful years of increased sales and market share for the Chrysler Group.
Using examples of companies in other industries with strong brand identities, Eberhardt described how successful brands represent all things that matter to customers and how strong brands have the power to create consumer preference for those products the brands represent.
He further outlined the branding strategy that Chrysler Group is pursuing for each of its three automotive brands, Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge. For the Chrysler brand, he provided examples of recent product successes, such as the Chrysler 300, which help to redefine the brand as refined, expressive, athletic and passionate, but at segment leading values.
Noting that the Chrysler brand’s identity is defined by the founding values and strategy of Walter P. Chrysler, Eberhardt quoted him stating, “Chrysler Automobiles will offer performance and excellence at a low cost — cars that will outperform Packards and Pierce Arrows for one-third or one-half the price.”
The Jeep brand is expanding at both ends of the price spectrum, Eberhardt explained. “Our strategy with Jeep is to expand the brand at the upper end and entry level while staying true to the brand hallmarks of freedom, adventure, mastery, authenticity and capability while maintaining the brand’s global appeal,” said Eberhardt.
In describing the Dodge brand, Eberhardt outlined how the brand will expand globally as the company intends to reinforce its brand identity with full-of-life; street-smart people with strong self-expressive tendencies who like to drive bold, powerful cars and trucks.
The company plans to take a different approach to global expansion compared to previous attempts. Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brand vehicles will be presented as distinctly American products that communicate a consistent identity from market to market.
Chrysler Group sells vehicles in more than 125 countries and in each of those locations the company has learned that American brands have appeal around the world. However, Chrysler and Jeep products were the brands that were most actively promoted by the company to foreign markets. Eberhardt stated that the company’s retail strategy is to sell Dodge vehicles alongside Chrysler and Jeep products at existing dealer outlets. It was anticipated that Dodge would eventually expand globally and showrooms were designed in a modular way to incorporate the eventual arrival of Dodge.
“Respect for heritage is an important part of understanding what our brands represent,” said Eberhardt. “Dodge has been an American icon for 90 years and we believe that many consumers outside of North America will relate positively to its core values.”
As the company continues its global expansion, Eberhardt identified five primary tenets of branding that he uses to drive the successful results to date for the Chrysler Group:
* First, clearly define your brand.
* Second, don’t try to be something you’re not.
* Next, take some risks.
* Fourth, stand behind your controversial decisions, if they make sense.
* Finally, have a strategy and execute, execute, execute.