DETROIT -- Chrysler brand head Saad Chehab today said the brand will expand its "Imported from Detroit" marketing theme with special-edition vehicles and partnerships that further tie Chrysler to the financially embattled city.
The "Imported from Detroit" campaign began during the 2011 Super Bowl with a now-famous commercial celebrating the city's gritty work ethic and featuring rapper Eminem driving a Chrysler 200. The brand has used the three-word tag line in nearly every subsequent campaign and partnered with other Detroit brands and personalities on special-edition vehicles.
Speaking to reporters after a speech before the Automotive Press Association today, Chehab, 45, said the campaign and its message of hard work and perseverance have resonated with customers and will continue to expand.
"We own the Detroit story now as a brand, and we're going to continue to tout it," Chehab said. "We landed this thing, and we're holding on tight to it."
As part of his presentation, Chehab said the automaker will build a 2013½ Chrysler 200 S Special Edition, in a partnership with outerwear and workplace uniform manufacturer Carhartt Inc. of Detroit.
The automaker will build 2,000 copies of the $29,865 vehicles, which feature unique front and rear fascias and Carhartt-branded seating, among other features. Carhartt, known for its rugged workwear, has been in business for more than 120 years. The 200 S Special Edition follows previous Chrysler limited-edition vehicles with Detroit ties, including 300 sedans tied to the Motown music brand and fashion designer John Varvatos.
In a controversial move, Michigan's governor this month appointed an emergency financial manager for the debt-ridden city of Detroit. Also, the city's former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was convicted this month in U.S. District Court on multiple corruption and racketeering charges.
Chehab said that despite Detroit's struggles, Chrysler will continue to use the city and its history in the brand's marketing.
"Americans like to believe and stick with and get behind folks that are trying to protect their future, and this is what this place is trying to do," said Chehab, a native of Lebanon who grew up in Detroit. "It may take a little bit of time, but we should focus on the good parts that this place is trying to do. We need to assist this city, from marketing to telling about its success stories."