ATLANTA - Chrysler Corp. is striking out in a new direction with its 300M sedan.
The 300M is aimed at imports, such as the Lexus ES 300, in an effort to change the Chrysler brand's image.
Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton said the automaker wants combined annual sales of 60,000 to 70,000 for the 300M and its sister car, the LHS.
At that relatively low volume, Chrysler executives do not expect the new sedans to have a huge impact on the automaker's bottom line. But Eaton said the LHS and 300M will play a significant role in changing Chrysler's image.
Although there is only a $100 difference in the base prices of the LHS and the 300M, there is a huge difference in lifestyle, age, attitude and income of the targeted buyers for each car.
The LHS is expected to appeal to traditional, near-luxury buyers at least 40 years old, with household incomes of $80,000.
With the 300M, Chrysler wants to attract import-oriented individualists who are at least 35 and have household incomes of $90,000.
Chrysler wants 35 percent of LHS buyers and 40 percent of 300M owners to be women.
The automaker is featuring the 300M's engineering and performance attributes to attract young, affluent, free-spirited buyers.
Print advertising for the 300M will appear in the ABA Journal, Cigar Aficionado, Departures, Food and Wine and Worth magazines.
TV commercials for the 300M will tilt toward miniseries and sports programming, such as the National Basketball Association playoffs and the Houston Open golf tournament.
Teaser spots for the 300M began running last week during the Greater Greensboro Open golf tournament.
The main targets of the 300M are the Audi A4, Acura TL, Lexus ES 300, Infiniti I30 and Cadillac Catera.
Chrysler focuses on luxury, styling and quality in its advertising for the LHS to attract a slightly older buyer. Chrysler is aiming the redesigned LHS at domestic cars, such as the Buick Park Avenue, Oldsmobile Aurora and Lincoln Continental.
The base price for the LHS is $28,995; the 300M starts at $28,895. Both prices include a $595 freight charge.
Major advertising campaigns for each sedan begin in the June issues of national magazines, which hit the stands at the end of May. That's when both sedans go on sale.
Print advertising for the LHS will appear in more traditional, upscale magazines, such as Architectural Digest, Forbes, Fortune, Midwest Living and New York.
As for TV, LHS commercials will be broadcast on news shows such as '60 Minutes,' 'Dateline' and '20/20.' There also will be spots on dramas such as 'Chicago Hope.'