2011 Chrysler 200. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.Enlarge Photo
With Chrysler’s release of the all new 200 sedan came the need for a stellar marketing plan. Enter stage right: Eminem. Can you think of a better composition to underscore a car commercial about hope than Lose Yourself? I can’t.
The first time I saw the commercial it immediately reminded me of seeing the car several weeks earlier at the North American International Auto Show, at the COBO Center in Detroit. As Chrysler was trying to drum up interest in the sedan, they nestled it in with redesigned Chargers and 300 sedans.
Cinderella, however, was vastly overshadowed by her prom queen sisters, leaving me to wonder, “Did Chrysler waste a perfectly good theme song on a mediocre car?” Shouldn’t Lose Yourself be the theme song for all of Detroit? Shouldn’t it be the song that announces to the world that Detroit is back, or at least ready to punch the automotive industry in the mouth?
As I walked the COBO center there was plenty from the Big Three to be impressed with. For one, they actually seemed to care about putting on a good show, a stark comparison to a few other brands, which showed up simply because they were expected to.
As mentioned, Chrysler was showing off its all new 200 and 300 sedans; but crowds gathered at a few other models as well. The redesigned platform sisters, Dodge Durango and Jeep Cherokee, were among the most popular models on display from Chrysler. Also on display was the 500 from Chrysler savior Fiat. With a line 20 minutes long for a picture in the driver’s seat, it’s hard to imagine how it won’t sell.
General Motors came out swinging at the show as well. Not only did they have an impressive product lineup, they choreographed their presentations and exhibits exceptionally well. After learning about the aspirations of new Cadillac CTS Coupe race team, we were immediately ushered to Buick, where we stood next to an all new supercharged Regal.
From Buick, we were herded over to see the new Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic. The General has high hopes for each of these small sedans. The Cruze, which I found shockingly attractive, should slot in nicely to a saturated field of compact cars. With help from wage UAW wage concessions, the Sonic (an updated Aveo), will be the only subcompact built on U.S. soil.
With the beat from Lose Yourself really echoing through my head now, there is Ford, the hands-down winner at the 2011 NAIAS. Over the last five years, Ford has put a lot of work into revamping its model lineup, picking up several awards along the way. In fact, nearly everything in my local dealer’s showroom has been freshened or redesigned all together in the past three years.
With launches of the redesigned Focus and Explorer pending, Ford pounced on the opportunity to spark interest in each model. Likewise, there were various trimmed out Mustangs available. The sparkling paint proved to be a Siren’s song for just about anyone walking past.
While the COBO Center proved to be a handsome setting for Ford to display its model lineup, Ford showed an even greater interest in attracting and engaging customers. There were at least two driving simulators, each with 20 minute waits, and a test track to display Ford’s hybrid models. On top of that, there was a monstrous roar at 40 past the hour from a Boss 302 Mustang. It seems they tied the beast to a dyno machine and gave it the opportunity every hour to make a 120-mph escape – thankfully it remained battened down.