Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Chrysler Hopes to Win Affluent Car Shoppers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Chrysler Hopes to Win Affluent Car Shoppers

Article excerpt

By Adam Bryant

N.Y. Times News Service

Thanks to some hot-selling models, a little profitability and a sheaf of news clips about its second coming, the Chrysler Corp. is feeling pretty good about itself.

But how to convey that swagger? In the past, Detroit's No. 3 auto maker relied on its popular front man, Lee A. Iacocca, to chastise anyone who doubted that Chrysler was the embodiment of the American entrepreneurial spirit. But with Iacocca in retirement, Chrysler is trying out a number of strategies to focus its many brands better.

The latest effort comes with the introduction of the new Chrysler New Yorker, for which a multimedia advertising campaign is to be rolled out with the cars in late April. A peek Thursday showed that Chrysler is hoping to win over affluent car shoppers with a few winks and nudges.

"We want to make them understand that we and they are in on the same joke," said Alan P. Levenstein, vice chairman of Bozell Inc. in New York, which created the advertising for the New Yorker and its expensive, sportier brother, the LHS.

Just how many people are tickled by the new Chrysler ads, and are moved to act, will be crucial to Chrysler's ability to maintain its winning streak with a new line of sedans, the Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision and Chrysler Concorde.

These lower-priced family sedans share many of the same underpinnings as the New Yorker and LHS, which are priced from about $25,000 to $30,000.

The New Yorker and LHS television ads feature shots of the cars careening down curvy roads, alternating with slow-moving interior shots, as a voice-over asks viewers whether they want a performance car or a comfortable, safe car. Those images are interrupted with type that silently recalls teeth-grinding moments of one's past. "Quit sitting on the fence" reads the quotation from "your fiance." And "Grow up" from "your girlfriend."

To which Chrysler responds by quoting itself near the ads' endings: "Waffle all you want," and "Just because you're responsible doesn't mean you're dead. …

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