The Chrysler group is trying to create more buzz for its small dealers and new models by aiming a public relations campaign at local media.
The automaker has hired eNR (eNews Releases), a Norwalk, Conn., public relations and marketing services firm, to help dealers get noticed by local print and broadcast outlets.
The campaign promotes new models with press releases that quote area dealers. The grassroots effort involves all of the Chrysler group's 4,200 U.S. dealerships, says spokesman Kevin McCormick
Chrysler would not say how much it is spending on the campaign.
McCormick says the Chrysler group is integrating the campaign with national ads touting its new products. Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge will introduce nine new or redesigned vehicles this year.
"Our intention is to help dealers generate more publicity for themselves," McCormick says. "The battle for customers is fought day-by-day at local levels by our dealers. This is one way we think we can help dealers enhance their use of local media."
Chrysler launched the program in December. The first press release focused on the Dodge Durango SUV, which debuted in November. The Dodge Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country and Crossfire also are being publicized.
McCormick says the effort benefits small-volume dealerships that don't have access to expensive PR machinery.
He says: "It takes the best practices of dealers who do it on their own and spreads it out across the entire dealer network."