The Chrysler group's revival of the Charger name on a Dodge sedan is generating "hate mail," says a senior executive. Production of the 2006 model starts in January, but correspondence is voluminous opposing the name on a four-door, says Trevor Creed, Chrysler senior vice president of design. The naysayers, writing primarily via e-mail, champion various Charger coupes that ran from 1966 through 1978 and from 1982 through 1987, Creed says. "They all think their Charger is the real thing."
WORDS THAT DON'T ROLL OFF THE TONGUE -- Tim McBride of DaimlerChrysler AG opened a Nov. 17 speech in Washington by saying he represents a "successful, global" automaker. He quickly noted that company executives hadn't been able to use those two words together in a sentence for most of the six years since the former Chrysler Corp. merged with the former Daimler-Benz AG. McBride, company vice president of external affairs for the Americas, backed up his point with data, mostly about healthy trends at the Chrysler group. Its profitability from businesses other than lending, he said, shows that "occasionally we make money from building and selling cars."
HEMI POWER -- Working in the shadow of DaimlerChrysler's North American headquarters has its advantages. The police station in Auburn Hills, Mich., took possession of four Dodge Magnum test police cars. "It's kinda like a kid waiting for Christmas," says Sgt. Glenn Heath. "We all want to drive it." The buzz around the vehicle has even resulted in a bumper sticker on the station's bulletin board. "It says, 'My next police car has a Hemi,' " Heath notes. "But no one is nervy enough to put it on an old car. It's tempting, though."
I, AUDI -- Audi's product placement in the Hollywood movie I, Robot has improved the brand's image in the United States, according to a survey of moviegoers done by Audi in six U.S. cities. The Audi RSQ sports car prototype was on screen almost nine minutes in last summer's science fiction thriller starring Will Smith.
WHO'S AFRAID OF MUSTANG? -- Ford's new Mustang may be getting rave reviews, but a key competitor says it isn't worried. Chevrolet marketing director Jim Campbell says the bow-tie division can cover that segment with the four-cylinder, supercharged Cobalt SS and Monte Carlo. "The Monte Carlo is capturing part of that market," Campbell says, pointing out the coupe's success on the NASCAR circuit.