Crain News Service
DaimlerChrysler already is building a prospect list for its Chrysler PT Cruiser, even though the new vehicle won't go on sale until spring 2000.
The carmaker is collecting names of consumers who respond to an auto show brochure for the retro-looking car, planned as a 2001 model.
The process started in recent weeks at the auto show in Detroit and will continue at shows in Chicago and New York, as well as shows and events in other cities, said Jennifer Keegan, Chrysler brand account director at Ross Roy Communications in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
In a first for Chrysler, the carmaker's brochure offers prospects three methods to respond: Mailing the reply card attached to the brochure, sending e-mail via the brand's Web site - www.chryslercars.com - or calling a toll-free number, (800) 4CHRYSLER.
The Web site has dedicated pages for the PT Cruiser, said Jay Kuhnie, communications manager for the Chrysler brand, adding, 'We'll communicate by mail or e-mail,' depending on consumer preference.
Ross Roy will make its first direct-mail drop for the PT Cruiser in April. Five follow-up mailings are planned in the next 13 months, including a thank-you letter, Kee-gan said.
PT Cruiser prospects are not being targeted by household income or age because the expected demographic is 'attitudinal,' Kuhnie said.
The PT Cruiser's sticker price will be significantly less than $20,000. Chrysler said the car, which is about six inches shorter than the revamped 2000 Neon, eventually will be sold in more than 40 markets worldwide.
PT stands for 'personal transportation.'
Chrysler said early consumer research revealed PT Cruiser's emotional appeal will be similar to the limited-production Plymouth Prowler roadster and Dodge Viper.
But unlike the Prowler and Viper, the PT Cruiser is for everyday use.
The rear seat can be removed, similar to a minivan.