Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2013 03:09 PM
Dodge Dart got beaten up a bit at the Detroit Auto Show, and partially by the company's own boss. Outspoken Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the launch of the important nameplate hasn't "gone as well as I wanted" and acknowledged that sales of the car have been hurt so far by engine and transmission combinations that have left many buyers feeling the car is underpowered.
But with a U.S. new-car market that prizes fuel economy in a package with decent amenities, Dart is still a new enough phenomenon that it's got a chance to compete better in a category crowded with worthy competitors including Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze.
And here's a first step: Dodge has introduced "new rules" for buying a car with an innovative online Dodge Dart gift registry. The promotion combines crowdsourcing and pizzazz with millennial appeal, and aimed to be a game-changer for a car that sold only 25,000 units in its first calendar year.
The registry allows consumers to configure and customize a Dodge Dart and set a goal for the amount of money they need to fund it. It then itemizes components of a car — everything from seats to the engine — allowing friends, family or anyone else to sponsor them.
The site is made to order for millennials and young people trying to put together the funds to buy their first new car.
Once registered, hopeful buyers can use social media to spread word of their desire to own a Dart and thank contributors, all while building more buzz for the car.
The registry formally launched on Sunday, Jan. 20th, with a 30-second commercial (at top) that ran during the FOX broadcast of the NFC Conference Championship Game.
Maybe Dart will pick up more momentum with this sort of "relaunch" this month. So far the brand comprises a rare weak spot in Chrysler's recent performance.