Posted by: David Kiley on August 13, 2007
Chrysler has launched a new campaign touting the “lifetime” warranty of its powertrains. The phrase, “lifetime warranty” sounds good. What it means is that the engine and transmission is warrantied for however long the buyer owns the car. Okay…not bad. Not earth-shaking. But not bad.
But the radio ad I heard this morning got my goat. The copy makes the point that Chrysler doesn’t make lawn-mowers or motorcycles. It’s a car and truck specialist that, among other things, invented power windows and the muscle car.
I can only assume that the lawn-mower and motorcycle riff was a dig at Honda, since they are the only competitor of Chrysler’s that makes mowers and cycles.
To which I say…Huh? Are you nuts? Honda is the premier engine company in the world. Ask owners of Honda cars, motorcycles, scooters, lawnmowers or generators how they feel about Honda and how much they trust those engines. Focus group them to find out how the incredible performance and durability of those engines affects their perception of the Honda brand overall.
Chrysler is advertising this at a time when its credibility is in serious question. It’s latest products have fallen in quality, compared with previous models. It’s losing money. It just brought in a notorious cost-cutter and b*** breaker in Bob Nardelli to hammer the operations into something that might be profitable. And you are taking shots at Honda? Who wrote these ads?
So, am I too close to the industry to have known what the reference to lawn mowers and cycles were about Honda? As the owner of a Honda vehicle and a Honda lawnmower (best I ever had), do I know too much?
In the auto industry, moreso than others, the power of the press carries more weight than advertising. So, the take-away from this advertising by repporters is pretty important to the overall mix of media impessions out there.
When I heard the ad, I was in the car with someone I know who has been bedeviled by the terrible quality in his 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee. He is also the owner of a Honda lawn-mower and snow-blower. And he was stupefied as well.
Chrysler—-if you are trying to restore your credibility in a new era under new owners and a new CEO, you might police your ads a little better as a start.