Chrysler Ads to Hype Relationship With Mercedes

16 June 2006

Chrysler Group, the US arm of German automotive giant DaimlerChrysler, hopes to revive sagging sales with a marketing campaign that attempts to capitalize on its kinship with the company's upscale Mercedes brand.

Although the name 'Mercedes' will not be mentioned in the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep ads (they will refer only to "German engineering") the strategy could backfire. Mercedes executives worry that the grand brand might lose some of its luster stateside if its technology is also available in Chrysler models selling at half the price.

The campaign, which includes TV, is scheduled to begin late this month or early next. Although eschewing the 'M-word', it will "emphasize the benefits of the merger" between Chrysler and Daimler that dates back to 1998.

Chrysler Group ceo Dieter Zetsche, interviewed Wednesday on Detroit radio station WJR, said the upcoming campaign "will point out, stronger than we did in the past, that . . . lots of German engineering has an impact on our Chrysler vehicles, which sets them apart. That is one message we will convey very, very strongly."

Lips are zipped as to all other campaign details.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff