Chrysler launches nationwide ad blitz for SRT brand
Chrysler Group, aiming to burnish its credentials with auto enthusiasts, is launching the first nationwide advertising for its SRT performance brand.
An extended version of a commercial debuted today on SRT's YouTube channel.
The campaign coincides with Chrysler Group's return to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a 13-year hiatus. Chrysler plans to compete with two SRT Vipers in the day-long race on the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The famed race is June 22 and 23.
"We wanted to infuse our first-ever SRT creative campaign with grit, beauty, longing, desire and nostalgia for the tradition and history of the automobile but to also give a nod to the relationship between the machine and its maker," Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer for Fiat and Chrysler, said in a statement.
Chrysler Group does not disclose SRT sales. Overall, the automaker's U.S. sales have risen 9 percent this year, and a record 38 consecutive months though May.
For the SRT line and other performance models carefully engineered and marketed by automakers, the brand image, cool factor and cachet created by such models outweigh the limited sales volumes, analysts say.
Still, some performance brands, notably BMW's M badge and Mercedes-Benz's AMG line, can produce considerable profits, analysts add.
Jack Nerad, market analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said the commercials likely will turn more car enthusiasts on to the SRT brand, draw more showroom traffic and boost Chrysler Group's overall sales.
"People will be intrigued and excited by the performance stuff and think it's cool, but get to the dealership and see that it's a little more in price than I want to spend," Nerad said.
He said the SRT models are not destined to sell in big volumes, but appeal to "performance car people," usually youthful to middle-aged men that are "young at heart."
"You have to have a fairly substantial wallet to afford some of these vehicles," Nerad said.
Pricing for 2013 SRT models range from $40,990 for the Challenger SRT to $101,990 for the SRT Viper, including shipping, according to Chrysler.
The Dodge Viper -- long considered the flagship of the SRT brand -- was dropped in 2010. The redesigned and rebadged 2013 SRT Viper went on sale in late 2012.
In early 2006, the Grand Cherokee became the first Jeep to be added to the SRT lineup.
Nerad said the commercials should help Chrysler and the overall industry.
"It's important for the industry … to remain exciting and enticing and not be all utilitarian," he said. "The industry … and Chrysler … win when people are enticed and excited by the product."
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