Jim Julow, Dodge general manager, wants to add more R/T high-performance models to his lineup. He spoke with Staff Reporter Ralph Kisiel about his plans in a number of areas; what follows is an edited transcript.
'We've got to still improve the car side. The 2000 Neon will help us do that. Obviously a new car in that segment is always a plus, and it raises a lot of excitement about cars in general. We're looking to get some halo effect from the redesigned Intrepid. But we still have capacity in cars that we could utilize.'
Growing minivan competition
'We obviously have the widest range of product. We can appeal to every niche that there is in the minivan segment. There's no target audience out there we can't sell to. It's just a share fight because there are a lot of entries. We're just going to have to slug it out with everybody. But I like our chances.'
'There is a niche out there that perhaps isn't served at the moment by anybody that wants something with more performance and is fun to drive. We'll monitor it closely.'
Platform sharing with other DaimlerChrysler divisions
'We have to get out of the paradigm of constantly trying to share the products we have. Chrysler has the PT Cruiser, and Dodge needs to look for other things coming down the road. We can't share everything.
'Is there something out there you could invent that could be a Dodge product? Well, I hope so. That's what the product-development guys do every day, and they do it really well. When the right one comes along for Dodge, it will be for Dodge.'
Spending on special events, such as the Viper Invitational
'We have not clicked over 100 percent of our budget to customer relationship management. Look back three to four years, we were probably spending between 5 to 10 percent of our budget on those kinds of things. Now it's more like 25 to 30 percent, so the trend line is very positive, but still suggest to you that the bulk of our budget is being spent on traditional media - print, broadcast, cable - so it is by far still a large number.'