Dodge Brand's Global Expansion Shifts Into High Gear

  • Caliber and Nitro to lead Dodge product offensive at the Geneva Motor Show
  • Dodge Caliber SRT4 brings benchmark performance and the brand's affordable power to the C-segment
  • Dodge Marketing campaign as bold and unique as the brand itself
  • Viral actions and guerrilla marketing to target specific consumer groups outside North America
February 15, 2006 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

The introduction of the new Dodge Caliber and Dodge Nitro in Europe and other world markets outside North America marks the arrival of two tough new contenders in the highly competitive C- and mid-size SUV segments, as well as the expansion of a bold new brand. Both of these vehicles will make their European debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Dodge Caliber and Dodge Nitro embody the key attributes of the Dodge brand and make a statement in their respective segments by combining high value with bold styling and flexible interiors. They are designed to appeal to buyers around the world who want Dodge attitude, packaged with capability and versatility combined with the affordability and fuel-efficiency demanded in these markets.

"The Dodge brand is all about attitude — it's bold, confident and assertive," said Thomas Hausch, Executive Director – Sales & Marketing, Chrysler International. "With its performance reputation and trademark good value, Dodge fits the profile of American brands that work in Europe and other world markets. The new Caliber and Nitro truly personify the unique Dodge brand spirit."

The Dodge Caliber SRT4 will also make its European premiere in Geneva. The Caliber SRT4 is a "tyre-smoking," 304 horsepower (DIN) "hot hatch" version of Caliber and it was produced by the Chrysler Group's Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group.

The Dodge Brand Marketing Campaign
To support the brand's expansion in markets outside of North America, Dodge will continue a marketing approach that is as unique as the brand itself. Using themes that are closely aligned with the Dodge brand values — bold, powerful, masculine and street smart — the Dodge marketing campaign will employ edgy, innovative and unconventional tactics to highlight the brand's unique appeal and to target specific audiences.

These initiatives, which use viral Internet ads, online editorial advertising and guerrilla marketing actions, as well as traditional media, will reinforce the personality of the Dodge brand and the unique position of the Dodge Caliber in the international marketplace.

"As our product offensive in markets outside North America gains momentum, Chrysler, Jeep® and now Dodge brand vehicles will continue to be presented as distinctly American products that communicate consistent identities from market to market," said Thomas Hausch.

"The Dodge brand has its own clear and unmistakeable identity and this new campaign will introduce the brand personality to our target audiences — full-of-life, street smart people with strong self-expressive tendencies who like to drive bold, powerful cars and SUVs without 'micro sizing' their bank accounts" he added.

"Recognize the Signs"
Continuing the guerrilla marketing strategy that the Dodge brand started at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September last year, a series of viral advertisements will be released onto the internet — to be passed electronically from person to person — under the banner, "Recognize the Signs".

Three initial viral ads, posted on a dedicated Web site at www.ramrash.com, will be released ahead of the Geneva Motor Show. Two additional ads will be launched in mid-March. The ads feature off-beat and provocative storylines in which the featured actors all display a bold, gutsy, full-of-life spirit, caused by a mystery rash, denoted by an imprint of the Dodge "Ram's Head" brand trademark on their bodies — "the Ram Rash."

Coinciding with the Motor Show, additional guerrilla marketing tactics will be employed in and around the city of Geneva. These will include buses "wrapped" with the Dodge logo, people sitting on trains and buses reading newspapers with Dodge headline news on the front page and models walking in the city and the show with Dodge logos tattooed on their foreheads.

"In this overpopulated and highly competitive environment, we cannot be a "me too" brand or product and so we are willing to take some risks with the Dodge brand," said Hausch. "At this initial stage, we will use non-conventional media to publicize Dodge. Our potential customers gain most of their information from alternative, non-traditional media sources and the Internet. Therefore, to reach them, we need to utilize innovative, creative and inventive communication channels."

"Dodge is different and this campaign is certainly different too. We believe that this is a more effective approach that allows us to target specific audiences who will be motivated by the unconventional marketing tactics that we are using," he added.

Strengthening the Dealer Network
Chrysler Group will utilize most of its existing infrastructure outside of North America to distribute, sell and service Dodge vehicles. More than 90 percent of dealers will distribute Dodge, which will increase sales volume and variable profit for the dealer body.

Dodge sold almost 1.2 million vehicles in the United States in 2005. Dodge is the fifth-largest nameplate in the U.S. and, with the arrival of the Dodge brand into Europe, Chrysler Group plans to increase its market share in Western Europe to 1.4 percent by 2009.


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