Jeff Bell: The Chrysler group wants to show it is proud of its products.
Called "Straight Math, Great Products," the campaign touts what the automaker calls the quality and value of Chrysler group vehicles.
Jeff Bell, 43, Chrysler group's vice president of marketing for the Jeep and Chrysler divisions, discussed the campaign with Staff Reporter Mary Connelly.
How will you market Chrysler and Jeep, given General Motors' employee discount campaign?
The communications intent is to show we are proud of our products. We have been very clear for the last couple of years that we would like this to be the year of the product - not the year of the rebate, not the year of the discount.
All of our messaging is going to be about the great products and the great values that we have. Not the other way around: "Hey, it is a really, really great price. I know you don't want our product."
For us, that is a very disheartening message. It is one some people have been following for several years. It is not good for the shareholders, consumer satisfaction or market share.
How is the transaction pricing strategy going for the Chrysler and Jeep brands?
We are committed to it. We have been very focused on (sticker prices) to position in people's minds what is the value for money.
We are following the lead of Toyota and Honda by focusing on residual values.
To have strong residual and resale values, you have to have (sticker prices) that make sense.
We have not abandoned incentives. There is always going to be a certain element of incentives. It is just natural in a competitive marketplace. But our focus has been on a good message in terms of (sticker price) and on our residual values.
That has carried through in launching Jeeps. We lowered the price on the Grand Cherokee by over $2,000 from its predecessor.
That has been well received by the residual market and the leasing market.
How close to sticker are vehicles selling for?
It varies. Some products are in their very last year of life. Others are brand-new.
There is no question that newer models sell closer to their (sticker price) than older models. That is just part of the natural life cycle.
New product and/or significant product innovation is the key. When we brought out the Stow 'n Go minivans, we also lowered the price and improved the residual values.
That has turned out to be a tremendous strategy for us. We have gained share not only at the expense of the domestics, but also Toyota and Honda.
You may e-mail Mary Connelly at [email protected]