Few industries have suffered more than auto manufacturing in the Great Recession of 2009.  As a consequence of accepting bailouts from the federal government, Chrysler and GM sharply curtailed their ad budgets this year. 378291_dodge_charger Chrysler, in particular, is ready to re- introduce itself as a vigorous company with products targeting consumers who are looking for something new from American manufacturers. To generate interest, the company plans to significantly ratchet up ad spending between now and 2011.

Here’s a rough snapshot of the company’s projected ad spending per new vehicle:

  • 2009: $100
  • 2010: $170
  • 2011: $210

An Advertising Age article cited Joe Phillippi, President of Auto Trends Consulting as predicting a $1.4 billion Chrysler outlay for advertising in 2010, up significantly from this year. Chrysler group CEO Segio Marchionne, known for his turn-around success at Fiat, is driving this spending as he re-establishes Chrysler brands – Dodge, Jeep and Ram.

Look for Dodge vehicles to be repositioned as fun with an emphasis on “refined and youthful”.  Jeep is planning to target its usual adventurers but will also reach for “dreamers – a larger group of people who are time-constrained by family and work, who want authentic gear with the hope that one day they’ll be able to do more and dream less.”  New ads already launched by Ram attempt to portray the brand as optimistic and filled with can-do spirit.

The new branding concepts were shared with analysts, dealers and other interested parties at Chrysler’s five-year plan meeting held last week. Reaction was mixed. Some analysts believed that the company is relying too heavily on traditional media. Others suggested that “there’s a disconnect in the marketing messages for Jeep, Ram and Dodge that the public will find hard to reconcile.” In any case, the company has dramatically increased its marketing spending and other auto manufacturers may follow its lead to maintain their image in the eyes of the consumer.

[Source: Halliday, Jean. Chrysler Hikes spending to Re-Establish Three Brands, Advertising Age, 11.09.09]