SBD/Issue 59/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

New Dodge Boss Ralph Gilles Discusses NASCAR Relationship

Gilles Says NASCAR Is A
"Natural Fit" With Dodge
New Dodge President & CEO Ralph Gilles Friday said NASCAR is a “natural fit” with his company, according to Bob Pockrass of NASCAR SCENE. Gilles, who replaced Mike Accavitti in October, said, “NASCAR is a great way to underscore Dodge’s personality. We’re positioning as a sports-car brand as well, not just a minivan brand. We want to amp up, so to speak, our fun-to-drive component.” Pockrass noted while Gilles “has a motorsports background as an amateur spec racer, his knowledge of NASCAR was limited.” Gilles: "As soon as I got the job, I dug into NASCAR because I believe we would stick with it and I wanted [to] see (how we can) really maximize the benefit.” Gilles indicated that there is “more than just winning that makes the NASCAR program beneficial.” Gilles: “Being there is half the battle and how you present it, how you feature it. On our Web site, there isn’t enough presence of NASCAR. I’d like to see more of it on the Web and connect our racing and our commercial side together.” Gilles said that he is “happy with the new Challenger that will be run in the Nationwide Series in four races next season as part of that series’ new car rollout.” Referring to the Sprint Cup Series, he added, “I would like to see over the next, maybe, four or five years, we see that (manufacturer identity) happen on Sundays” (SCENEDAILY.com, 12/4). Gilles, when asked if he believes officials with Dodge’s new owner Fiat “fully support” the automaker’s involvement in NASCAR, said, “We’ve only been together for five months now, so I could tell you better if you ask me that question a year from now. But, obviously, they take motorsports very seriously over in Italy. I would say give it time. I think they will find the value in it that we see” (ESPN.com, 12/4).

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