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.