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CHRYSLER LOOKS TO STRENGTHEN PRESENCE IN AUTO RACING
Published May 29, 1996
Chrysler is strengthening its presence in auto racing to "buttress the sporty mystique" of the Dodge name and bolster performance across its product line, according to BRANDWEEK. Chrysler will make its first entry in the Le Mans race with a Dodge Viper, and it is racing four vehicles in the NASCAR Super Truck series. Dodge Exec Dir of Motor Sports Operations Lou Patane said racing helps Dodge's brand identity at a grass roots level through increased dealer programs such as ticket giveaways and local sponsorships. Chrysler is also racing two Dodge Stratus sedans at the new Super Touring Championship series, selling a racing package for Dodge/Plymouth Neon for weekend races, and taking part in drag racing events by the NHRA. Racing imagery is also "likely" as part of BBDO's Dodge ads. Consultant Jim Wangers, while "supportive" of their plans, said Chrysler "needs to get into NASCAR's primary loop" to get the most out of race-based marketing (Steve Gelsi, BRANDWEEK, 5/27). RACING NOTES: NASCAR's marketing machine was profiled in the WASHINGTON POST. Martha Hamilton notes NASCAR fans are, "devoted, not just to the races and the cars and the drivers, but to the companies whose corporate logos adorn them" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/26)....Members of Joe Gibbs's McDonald's drag racing team will appear with McDonald's Winston Cup driver Bill Elliott on 15 million boxes of Kellogg's Raisin Bran in stores soon as part of a joint promo between Kellogg's, Mattel Hot Wheels and McDonald's (NATIONAL SPEED SPORT NEWS, 5/22 issue)....IndyCar has named Allsport as its official photographer (IndyCar)....Kenwood joins with Circuit City to sponsor the second annual "Speed of Sound Tour," a series of 10 free concerts in conjunction with major NASCAR races from May-November (BRANDWEEK, 5/27).