October 24, 2007 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Is your relationship in need of a tune up because your significant other spends more time tuning out his or her vehicle than tuning in to you? If so, you’re not alone. According to a new Dodge brand survey conducted by Ipsos, 22 percent of women and 16 percent of men would rather spend an evening without their significant other than have to give up their vehicle for the same night 1.

The rapidly growing industry of vehicle customization and tuning hit an all-time record high of $36.7 billion last year and is rapidly expanding from young adults to “boomer tuners” and soccer moms who want to personalize their minivans, SUVs and family vehicles. To help these tuners and tuners-in-training get the cool rides they are looking for without sacrificing their relationships, the Dodge brand is launching a search for the most “tuned out” tuner.

Car enthusiasts, their significant others, friends and family are invited to register online at www.DodgeRUTunedOut.com for a chance to win an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4 for the tuner in their life. This high performance, race-inspired vehicle comes “tuned” directly from the factory, which means tuners can spend less time working on their car and more time with their friends and family.

“With so many consumers spending countless hours in the garage washing, tuning and personalizing their vehicles, the gearheads at Dodge have created the Caliber SRT4, which comes with all the performance, power and styling of a one-of-a-kind, custom car,” said Ralph Gilles, Vice President – Jeep®, Truck, Advance Interior and Component Design, Chrysler LLC. “The Dodge Caliber SRT4 comes packed with performance with 285-horsepower and a 0-60 mph acceleration time of less than six seconds, which means tuners and car enthusiasts can spend less time in the garage and more time out on the road enjoying their ride.”

Get Tuned In and Sign Up Now
Consumers can go online at www.DodgeRUTunedOut.com, beginning Oct. 24 at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) until 5 p.m. (EST) on Nov. 15, to nominate themselves or their significant other for a chance to win an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4. All participants must be 18 years or older with a valid driver’s license.

During registration, participants will be asked to submit a 250-word essay answering the questions, “Why are you or your significant other tuned out?” and “How will an all-new Dodge Caliber SRT4 help you or your significant other tune back in?”

An independent panel of judges will review all of the entries that are received and will select four finalists in honor of the Dodge Caliber SRT4. The finalists will be announced Nov. 29 and consumers will be invited to visit www.DodgeRUTunedOut.com from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 to vote for their favorite tuner or tuner-in-training. The results of the online voting will be combined with the judges’ scores, and the tuner with the highest combined score will be awarded an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4.

Tuner Roadblocks
With so many people tuned into the tuning trend, Dodge asked consumers what they considered to be the biggest roadblock to having a tuned out ride. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of tuners and tuners-in-training identified their relationship as being the biggest roadblock. Cost and lack of time, on the other hand, were identified by 41 and 34 percent of tuners, respectively, as being the biggest challenge to getting tuned out vehicles ready for the road.

Additional survey results showed:

  • Putting the Grrrr in Garage – Seventeen percent of men say the garage is their favorite place to spend time at home.
  • Tune Time – Americans spend approximately 18 billion hours a year tuning and maintaining their vehicles2.
  • Tuner Vision – More than half of all men (63 percent) and more than one in three women (34 percent) say they are tuned in to cars and trucks.

Are You in Tune with Tuning?
Tuners and individuals interested in becoming tuners, can easily customize, personalize and tune out their vehicles by following a few simple steps:

  • Safety First – Due to the technology and computer systems in today’s vehicles, tuners should make sure that performance parts and components, including tire size, etc., are compatible with their vehicle and its computer system before making installations. Vehicles have many integrated systems and tuners need to be aware that making a small adjustment to one component could affect other parts of their vehicle.
  • Tuner Taste – There are countless parts and accessories that tuners can buy to customize their vehicles. Mopar, Chrysler LLC’s Global Service and Parts Division, has designed and manufactured an assortment of accessories and performance parts for the full-line of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products, including the Caliber SRT4. But before you begin making modifications, create a list of the things that are most important to you. If you’re more concerned with design than performance, start there. Tuning is a hobby that highlights personal taste and style.
  • Keep an Eye on Costs – Tuning can be an expensive hobby. Before making any adjustments to your vehicle, make sure you know what the associated costs will be. While there are many high impact, low cost accessories to help you personalize your vehicle, making changes to the vehicle’s engine and performance parts can be very expensive. All tuners should remember customization is personal and if you plan on selling your vehicle after you’ve made adjustments, you may not get a full return on your investment.

About the 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4
The 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is for the enthusiast who wants the all-around performance of a true “tuner car” right from the manufacturer. Powered by a turbocharged engine producing 285 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque, the Dodge Caliber SRT4 has 70 more horsepower than the original SRT. Priced at $22,995, which includes $560 destination, and a 0 – 60 mph acceleration in less than six seconds, the Dodge Caliber SRT4 once again delivers the SRT mission of benchmark performance at the lowest price.

About the Dodge Brand
With a U.S. market share of 7 percent, Dodge is the Chrysler Group’s best-selling brand and the fifth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2006, Dodge sold than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market. Dodge continues to lead the minivan market with a 20 percent market share in the U.S. In the highly competitive truck market, Dodge has a 16 percent market share. Dodge is also entering key European volume segments with Nitro and Caliber.

 


1 These results are based on 1,003 telephone interviews with adults 18 years of age and older from across the United States. Interviews were conducted between Oct. 9 and Oct. 11, 2007. The final data are statistically weighted to reflect the regional population distribution of the US. Surveys were completed in English and in Spanish.

With a sample of 1,000, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results are within ±3.1 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire population of the United States had been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger for sub-groupings of the survey population.

2 We arrive at the total numbers of 18 billion hours American adults maintain their vehicles per year by taking the following steps. First, we ask the amount of time spent each week maintaining your vehicle per week. That number is multiplied by 52 for each respondent to get a number of maintenance hours per year. The mean number of hours per year is 84. The U.S. Census Bureau's annual Current Population Survey for 2006 states that there are approximately 218,250,800 adults. Multiplying 84 hours per year times 218,250,800 gets us the number of 18,333,067,200.