Remember that Obama-designed bailout of the automotive capitalists, the one that will direct at least 130 billion no-ownership-exercised public dollars to what remains of the real-economy vanguard of our mortally decrepit overclass?
What changes has the bailout cash facilitated, you might wonder. New, cutting edge cars that out-perform Japanese makes? Radical MPG improvements? Exploration of the idea of using existing production equipment to rebuild the nation’s rail stock and infrastructure?
Not so much.
Turns out, the money is retooling marketing strategies, not transportation arrangements.
If by now you’ve finished rolling on the floor laughing your ass off over GM’s new “May the Best Car Win” campaign and perhaps vomiting as you realize that pickup trucks and SUVs remain a central part of the Not-So-Big Three’s plans, consider the latest news out of Chrysler.
According to Automotive News, here is what that pool of investors is planning to do with their free handout:
Chrysler hikes spending to rebuild brands
After five months of near silence on the marketing front, Chrysler Group is roaring back with a new attitude. The automaker is ratcheting up advertising this quarter and plans to do so in each of the next two years, CFO Richard Palmer said last week. He spoke at the unveiling of Chrysler’s five-year plan under Fiat S.p.A., which took control of Chrysler as it emerged from bankruptcy in June.
Chrysler Group vehicle sales fell 30 percent last month from a year earlier and are down 39 percent this year through October. CEO Sergio Marchionne said, “I can give you one reason: The fact that we’ve been incredibly quiet for the last five months, so the marketing positions of all our brands have been incredibly weak.”
Chrysler’s plan is big — literally. Three experts who attended the meeting were given a loose-leaf binder 2 inches thick outlining it.
Dodge: ‘A complete overhaul’
To start with, Chrysler hopes to reposition Dodge cars from rugged to refined and youthful, said Ralph Gilles, CEO of the brand. He called it “a complete overhaul of our branding and positioning” by the second quarter of 2010. Within that framework, the automaker is also changing its targeting, going after consumer lifestyles rather than age groups or price classes, because, he said, “people are aging gracefully” and “fun is ageless.”
Gilles said several ad ideas are under consideration, and he showed a video themed “The Physics of Fun” said to have been created by Chrysler’s multicultural agency GlobalHue of Southfield, Mich.
Jeep: On-road focus
Jeep, too, is shifting gears, veering away from its established workhorse roots. CEO Mike Manley said the brand will be less focused on “sheer capabilities” and more on fuel economy and on-road driving manners.
Jeep research found that only 30 percent of consumers are interested in true off-roading, so the brand aims to appeal to both its traditional “adventurers” and “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.” He said the Wrangler will remain “the ultimate expression of the brand” and come with standard 4×4, off-road ability, but the nameplate will get more derivatives and models, some with two-wheel drive.
‘My name is Ram’
Richards Group of Dallas was tapped for the new Ram work after a pitch that included incumbent BBDO Detroit, and it created a spot with an audacious media buy — 190 times in prime time on its first night alone. The first spot, titled “Manifesto,” was narrated by agency founder Stan Richards. The theme is “I am Ram,” and it uses a montage of photos as the narrator says things such as “I am fueled by optimism and a can-do spirit,” and “I will not yield. I will not coast to a stop. My name is Ram.”
DeLorenzo called it “heavy, old-school macho.”
Chrysler: Seeking to turn heads
The Chrysler vehicle-brand presentation by CEO Olivier Francois — who was tapped months ago to oversee all the carmaker’s marketing, advertising and brand development — was the strongest made by any of Marchionne’s 15 lieutenants, said Wolkonowicz.
Francois, who keeps his job as the head of Fiat’s upmarket Lancia, showed an emotional brand vision video for the Chrysler 300 that could easily be transformed into an ad. “Whatever happened to American style?” the video’s narrator says. “When going for a drive was a big deal. We turned heads. … At Chrysler we believe it’s time to get it back.”
So, there you have it: The car corporations have been bailed out so that they can get another crack at using the fauxest of faux emotions and attitudes to sell us the same, old Earth-destroying shit. As the planet cooks and squanders its remaining energy sources, the United States, led by Obama, is bailing out the same old fuckers who want to make even more money with studiously applied flattery, jingoism, machismo, and escapism.
I consider this to be major evidence supporting the central thesis in my forthcoming book, Automobiles Über Alles. Here is that thesis:
Corporate capitalists are literally addicted to selling us millions of cars annually, forever, no matter the cost or danger. They cannot and will not consider other possibilities.
It doesn’t take much thought to figure out what this addiction implies about the long-term viability of the big business socio-economic order.