Oct. 17, 2012 at 7:29 AM ET
Chrysler is taking its “Imported from Detroit” campaign a step further with two special edition sedans planned to celebrate the Motor City’s musical heritage.
The maker will release a special version of the 200 sedan — which received its big send-off during a 2011 Super Bowl commercial starring rapper Eminem — designed to honor the 10th anniversary of the release of the iconic hip-hop movie, “8 Mile.”
A second special edition, this one based on the bigger Chrysler 300, will be tied to the release of the new Broadway show, “Motown: The Musical,” the maker’s global marketing chief Olivier Francois revealed during an interview with the Detroit News.
“We needed to give Detroit credit for what it really does stand for,” said the 51-year-old French-born executive, who took over marketing operations for Chrysler as the U.S. automaker became part of a Euro-American alliance with Fiat SpA.
Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has encouraged emphasizing the maker’s U.S. roots — even moving a small team of workers from Chrysler’s suburban headquarters to a newly restored office building in downtown Detroit.
“We’re the Detroit kids,” suggested Marchionne during a recent conversation.
But the highest-profile effort was launched with a much-discussed two-minute Super Bowl spot featuring the music and face of rapper Eminem — who had traditionally declined to lend his work to marketing efforts.
Since then, Chrysler has used the “Imported from Detroit” campaign to both promote mainstream products like the 200 sedan as well as a line of merchandise.
Chrysler officials believe that they have gained momentum over the last several years — marked by this year’s 24 percent percent overall sales increase — by promoting “buzz packages.” They will show off an assortment of them during the upcoming aftermarket event, known as the SEMA show, held in Las Vegas over Halloween week.
One of the most recent packages is dubbed the 300C John Vartos edition, developed with the cooperation of the Detroit-based fashion designer. More such packages “will continue to be deployed from us,” Chrysler VP Reid Biglund told the paper.
The 8 Mile Edition Chrysler 200 will debut as that groundbreaking feature, which gave Eminem a mainstream audience, celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Specifics of the special hip-hop and Motown models haven’t been released — though Chrysler recently gave dealers a sneak peek during a preview in Las Vegas.
Whether Chrysler will do a third break-out Super Bowl spot is still being discussed, Olivier told TheDetroitBureau.com last week, though it appears the maker is leaning toward that. But he cautioned Chrysler “may not” use a big name celebrity in anything it would come up with. “The cars are the stars,” he emphasized.
Whether Eminem would play a part in the launch of the 8 Mile 200 sedan is also unclear, as is whether Chrysler will turn to any classic Motown stars for the introduction of the Motown 300.