Chrysler trying to think beyond the showroom with Ride & Drive program

Article by Anita Panait, on June 13, 2012

The Chrysler Group is betting that its experiential marketing program would bring more customers into dealer showrooms. The carmaker’s experiential marketing program, dubbed as “Ride & Drive” entails bringing the company’s vehicles to places other than showrooms, like malls, schools and music concerts.

The Ride & Drive program allows consumers to experience Chrysler’s vehicles in a less stressful environment than a dealership. During a Ride & Drive event, the company will encourage potential customers to browse its social-media applications for more information, which in turn, the carmaker hopes, will lead to a dealership visit for a purchase discussion.

George Neill, Chrysler Group's head of marketing strategy and operations, said that the Ride & Drive program could be described as physical-to-virtual experience, linking the program to the company’s other marketing activities, social networks included.

Casey Hurbis, head of Fiat brand advertising and communications, said the Ride & Drive program is different from what they used to do to sell vehicles – showcasing a car in a public place while giving brochures to potential customers. Test drives are nothing new as dealers typically allow potential customers to experience a car by having them drive test it. But, test drives at places other than dealership is something new.

Chrysler has rolled out its Ride & Drive program to all brands across the United States in different places and events, including the Fiat Ride & Drive at the Detroit Jazz Festival. Chrysler also employed a similar program for Ram trucks at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, and for Dodge vehicles at different school events across the country. Chrysler has implemented the program with its Drive for the Kids program at elementary schools. [source: AdAge]

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