Dodge Readies Durango SUV

Though Chrysler Corp.’s Jeep brand defines the sport utility vehicle segment, its Dodge division is getting an SUV of its own–the Durango–in an attempt to keep some of the 100,000 buyers who leave Dodge every year for Ford Explorers or Chevy Blazers.
Launching next month along with the Durango is the newly madeover Intrepid sedan. The two are linchpins for the brand in an effort to change the lingering consumer perception that Dodge products are technologically challenged.
Ad support for the Durango is expected to be around $70 million during this model year, not including considerable dealer support. It will be launched via a four-page fold-out ad in USA Today on Nov. 3. Four of six Durango TV spots break that day as well.
BBDO, Southfield, Mich., is the national agency for Dodge.
“The New Dodge” umbrella theme and pitchman Edward Hermann both remain, while the tagline supporting the Durango launch is, “We’re covering new ground.”
The Durango will join Chrysler’s other vehicles as a mainstay on broadcasts for the National Hockey League and other weekend and prime-time sports, especially college bowl games. The new vehicle will also be the focus of an eight-page magazine insert in news, auto enthusiast and lifestyle titles.
Advertising dedicated to the Intrepid breaks Jan. 1, using the theme, “We’re changing everything, again.” Intrepid is expected to receive $70-80 million in support over the model year.
Some onlookers looked for Dodge to abandon “The New Dodge” theme after the makeover of its whole line of cars. But according to M. John MacDonald, vice president of marketing, “We believe that the line will last indefinitely, as long as we keep introducing new cars and new features at as fast a rate as we are now.”