Chrysler links physical and virtual experience with Ride & Drive program

Article by Anita Panait, on June 6, 2012

Chrysler Group is now engaging in experiential marketing with its "Ride & Drive" program. Under the program, the company showcases its vehicles and allows the public to experience them at public places other than a dealership’s showroom, including malls, schools and concerts. The carmaker is using the program to attract potential customers to browse its social-media applications for more information, which hopefully leads to visit to a dealership for a possible purchase. 

According to George Neill, head of marketing strategy and operations for Chrysler Group, the company considers the program as a “physical-to-virtual experience." Casey Hurbis, head of Fiat communications, said that the Ride & Drive program strategy is to connect with customers in person and these people would then take that online.

Hurbis said that the Ride & Drive is linked with the company’s other marketing activities like social networking. Hurbis said that previously, the car is shown in a mall where they would then distribute brochures. But that will change when they persuade customers to look at the digital and social play.

Chrysler is already using the Ride & Drive program for all brands across the United States. But what is making the company’s Ride & Drive program unique is that it does not only go to auto shows. The Fiat Ride & Drive was at the Detroit Jazz Festival, and Ram trucks were showcased at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. Another brand, Dodge, has been to school events across the US, giving a $20 donation per test drive for a school's booster club.

Chrysler has implemented the same with its "Drive 4 the Kids" program at elementary schools. Jeep, meanwhile, has been holding a Ride & Drive event in Washington as part of its official sponsorship of the USA Men's Basketball team that will compete in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

With at least 70 years of 4x4 engineering to back it up plus the fact that it is fitted with the very well-known four-wheel drive, it comes as no surprise that the new Jeep Wrangler is able to offer off-road capability that it truly unparalleled. This latest offering remains to have the body-on-frame design, the five-link suspension system for both the front and the rear, electronic lockers, and the live axle. What’s new however is that the Wrangler will now give customers the option to choose between an automatic five-speed transmission and the manual six-speed gearbox.

There are also other changes like the shock absorbers being retuned, ensuring that they would be able to balance the off-road capability and the advanced handling on the road in a more optimized manner. New as well is the powertrain as well as the motor. However, adapting new transmission and enhancing the calibrations of the suspension meant that the overall improvement could be felt not just when driving on-road but even when going off-road.

One excellent improvement is how the engineering managed to enhance the body-on-frame design and thus optimize not only the sound quality but even the ride characteristics. By refining the mounting system of the powertrain and improving nose damping in its firewall, the sound quality of the Wrangler’s interior is improved even further. Further, by having an engine cover, it made it possible to separate the cabin from any noise coming from its engine or even the road surfaces.

Even from the outside, the noise of the engine can hardly be heard despite the power delivered by the 3.6-liter V6 engine. The reason is that all engine accessories were directly mounted to the engine rather than use brackets. Thus, components like air conditioning compressor, alternator, and power steering pump, to name a few, are fastened firmly while making sure that they are less vulnerable to any noise or vibration.

Topics: chrysler

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