“Made in America” in the 21st Century


In Trash Talk, bmaz wrote about a “lunchpail” Superbowl, pitting two teams named after people who make things against each other: the Steelworkers versus the Meatpackers. And the game ended appropriately, with a team owned by the people of a small city, having gone to a monstrous stadium as much a tribute to one arrogant man as it is a sports venue, taking home the trophy named after the man who put their city on the map. We can rest easy as Jerry Jones and the other greedy bastards threaten to lock out their players, knowing that the spirit of the game will be in the hands of the people of Green Bay.

All of which was the perfect background for this ad, as much a tribute to a city and a way of life our elites would like us to forget as it is an ad for a car. The visuals are amazing–not just the great monuments of Detroit, but (at :16) the juxtaposition of the disaster porn that our media have lapped up in the last couple of years–“a town that’s been to hell and back”–with the American flag–“the finer things in life.” (It was perhaps a better tribute to our national anthem than the one Christina Aguilera gave.) And, then, with Joe Louis’ fist punctuating the image, followed quickly by Diego Rivera’s tribute to industry, the ad laid out its creed in a working man’s voice.

You see, it’s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel. Add hard work and conviction and the know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us. That’s who we are. That’s our story.

All culminating in a synthesis of the grit of Eminem and the uplift of gospel.

Yeah, there’s an irony at the heart of the ad: as the tagline “Imported from Detroit” suggests. We’ve been sold to the highest–the only–bidder, for scraps. And it took the genius of a metrosexual Canadian-Italian to reclaim the dignity of America’s industrial base.

Made in America isn’t as simple as it used to be.

Back in the 70s, as our industries were first struggling against the challenges of globalization, the unions had a campaign–Made in America–that appealed to the pride and perhaps parochialism of average Americans as reason enough to buy a product.

As the last few decades have shown, it turns out that Made in America wasn’t reason enough.

This ad, I think, tries to reclaim that idea, to appeal to the dignity of the men and women in flyover country so often maligned by “experts” who know little about what they write.

Now, it’s probably not the [story] you’ve been reading in papers, the one being written by folks who’ve never even been here and don’t know what we’re capable of.

Who knows if the ad will work? Who knows whether it’ll sell cars; who knows whether it’ll convince a region barely regaining confidence after a terrible trauma to believe?

But whatever the cynical calculations behind this ad, whatever the value of the Chrysler 200, someone needed to tell this story.

  1. BAmer says:

    Nice post, Marcy. The ad is certainly generating a lot of buzz. Will it work outside of Michigan? Dunno.

  2. cbl says:

    wow, I didn’t even see the ad until about five minutes ago – was busy with crockpot temps when it aired) and was thinking of you Empty – wondering what you’d thought of it – I really liked it and apparently a few tens of millions of others did as well –

    a dark little valentine to Detroit, and wrt to ‘message’, Mad Men and Women everywhere agree

  3. emptywheel says:

    Btw, Michael Moore was tweeting up a storm about the ad last night–I imagine he’ll have something pretty powerful to say about it too.

    Also, the skater in the ad is the US Champion, Alissa Czisny, who grew up in the Toledo area and lives in SE MI.

    And the guy who did the voiceover, Kevin Yon, lives outside of Grand Rapids.

    I’m curious, too, how much the quality of this ad is a tribute to the movie subsidies that have made Detroit a big spot to make movies of late.

    • cbl says:

      a youtube commenter pointed out that Czisny went from finishing 10th last year to taking her 2nd National Title last week :D redemption baby !

    • rosalind says:

      And the guy who did the voiceover, Kevin Yon, lives outside of Grand Rapids.

      best friend, grand rapids boy, walks in the door after the superbowl.

      me: do you know Kevin Yon?
      him: yeah! we did a voiceover together once, great guy.
      me: come watch this commercial.

  4. Rayne says:

    That has to be one of the best pieces of ad work I’ve seen in a very long time.

    I just wrote a response yesterday morning to somebody trashing Detroit, forwarding me more “ruin porn.” I’m going to have to send this ad as a follow-up, because it said in two minutes what it took me an hour to write.

    And I love that it captured not only Joe Louis’ Fist, but Marshall Fredericks’ Spirit of Detroit.

  5. JTMinIA says:

    Will the ad work?

    Well, let’s use past experience to make our guess.

    When that ad where everyone in the airport starts clapping for the soldier first aired, sales of magnetic yellow ribbons soared. VA funding did not. Calls for investigations of deliberate misinformation about soldier deaths did not. And, maybe most important, recruitment remained flat.

    Will the ad work?

    If there were a color of magnetic ribbon (rust?) for “support our manufacturing workers,” then, sure, it would probably work by one metric.

    Will it do what they hoped to achieve?

    I doubt it.

  6. SaltinWound says:

    It is an okay ad for Detroit. But it is supposed to sell cars. For that to happen, people first have to accept that Detroit represents luxury. They then have to make the connection that they want to buy cars from the city that represents luxury.

    • emptywheel says:

      Been thinking more about it.

      What this ad sells is not “luxury” but “dignity.” I think that message will work for a number of people–and not just in Detroit–because it mobilizes the resentment of having a bunch of know-nothing elites write that you can’t do something, even while they remain ignorance of all the expertise that goes into your work.

      In other words, I think the ad will work well for some precisely because it appeals to dignity. (And in that, Eminem was a brilliant choice.)

      But the word luxury is just a tagline the auto industry uses. It’s almost like they included it bc Hyundai has done such a good job challenging the Germans’ claim to own the luxury category of late (and really, Chrysler is increasingly about competing w/Hyundai). But as I said above, the word “luxury” is superfluous in this ad.

    • Rayne says:

      Did you know that Detroit was once considered the “Paris of the West” because of its architecture? Or that Detroit was not only the heart of American manufacturing, but one of Americas’ art centers?

      That the rest of the U.S. no longer remembers what Detroit has been is a serious challenge; the ease with which the public laps “urban decay porn” undermines everything the people of Detroit and its home state do. This ad represents a recognition of the fact that Detroit has to overcome the stigma forced on it, and that it has been and remains great.

        • Rayne says:

          When people say “Chrysler,” what do they think of? When people say “Detroit,” what do they think of? These may have been the very questions the ad company started with when they developed the concept.

          No, the city didn’t pay for the ad. But the city is where most Americans believe Chrysler to be, and the horrible press Detroit has gotten for years is an impediment to the image Fiat wants to paint of Chrysler as quintessentially American, ex Detroit.

    • Dusty says:

      But they are not buying a car from a city. In most folks minds they are buying a car from a car company. They do not extrapolate it that far out when looking to purchase an vehicle, at least in my mind. It’s just a cute selling point for the PR firm that made the commercial.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Should have read your comment before I posted mine. We’re thinking alike today.

      Boxturtle (Be sure to mention you agreed with me next time you see your shrink)

    • KrisAinCA says:

      I think you’re missing the appeal to the younger generation here. The Chrysler 300 is a luxury car to 20 somethings, and to have Eminem promoting a new Chrysler offering is a big deal. This will certainly sell cars. Millions? No. Tens of thousands? Yes.

  7. puppethead says:

    The socialist art themes really took me by surprise.

    Fiat is a major stakeholder in Chrysler, there is talk they will take it over soon, making it a foreign-owned company. This is a powerful ad, but it’s misleading on the premise. More power to Chrysler and the American workers, but pretending it’s all for the benefit of America isn’t right, the capital of the company is going to be going overseas. Chrysler’s going to be as American as Toyota or Volkswagen or any other multinational car company with factories here.

    I see this as a last gasp of the old car ways. That commercial doesn’t make me think of the Fiat 500 or alternative fuels, which are the future of the company.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, Fiat will never profit in this country if all it’s selling is the 500. The margins are too small. So it’s got to make a product in this mid-size category that will work for all those who would never consider a 500 and who will be willing to pay a bit more for the implied dignity the car gives.

      • puppethead says:

        Absolutely. I was meaning the Fiat 500 as a symbol of European car style, as opposed to American SUV mentality. On the other hand, Volkswagen has figured out how to Americanize their models (ugh, I say) for this market, so I don’t expect the iconic Chrysler models to disappear overnight.

        I still stand by my “it’s not a US car company it’s using US car industry” point. Which isn’t bad for workers, necessarily. But it is another point along the post-Reagan our-country-doesn’t-make-things decline.

  8. BoxTurtle says:

    It was a nice story about Detroit, but as a car ad it left me flat. I don’t think the car got even 5 seconds of air time and it was almost always the front view. Gas mileage? Carge space? Side impact airbags? You’re selling leather and luxury, show us the interior!

    There wasn’t anything in that ad that would get me into a Chrysler dealership.

    Boxturtle (Nor do I feel a desire to visit Detroit)

    • Rayne says:

      So apparently you didn’t think much of the Volkswagen “Darth Vader” ad, either?

      Because that ad showed even less of the car than the Chrysler ad.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        As a car selling ad, correct. It did nothing for me. However, the little Darth was WAY cuter then Eminen.

        I think the VW ad was stolen from a Home Improvement script. And the Chrysler ad should be expanded to 30 minutes and shown on the Discovery channel.

        Boxturtle (At about $50K a second of airtime, I’d like something that actually sold my product)

        • Rayne says:

          Re: cuter Darth — right there is a critical difference between the ads; the VW was targeting the nuclear family, the Chrysler was not.

          As for the expense: it’s worth the $50K/second if it got a crapload of people to talk about it for free. More people talking about, more likely to see curious potential buyers at website and at dealership.

          I see “eminem chrysler” is the third most popular topic in Google Trends now, by the way, amazing trend graph. Pretty freaking good ad.

  9. behindthefall says:

    Engineers ought to get 40 mpg in any new car without breaking a sweat. And any new car that doesn’t get >=40 mpg isn’t a ‘new’ car, but old recycled iron. How about it, Chrysler? Are you thinking, these days, or just pounding your chest?

    • alan1tx says:

      It’s very easy for engineers to get 40 mpg in any new car without breaking a sweat.

      The hard part is getting a fleet of new cars to AVERAGE 40 mgp (or whatever).

      And that’s because only a small % of people care about mpg. Most want a big truck or SUV or sports car, and they shoot the average in the foot.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s worth remembering that most of us aren’t the target for the ad.

      We shall see whether it works. As I said, I’m just glad someone has produced a very important means to conversation about its themes.

  10. emptywheel says:

    Just rewatched the 1984 ad, an ad the length and grandiose themes of this one pretty much borrows.

    That ad didn’t begin to mention product until the last 9 seconds of a 60 second ad. Its successful appeal to deeply held anxieties had a significant role in the success of the Mac, and with it the Apple.

    Obviously, this ad has a tougher selling point–it’s harder to convince people to reconsider what they know about Chrysler and Detroit than consider a brand new product. But it’s worth watching that one just for comparison.

    (Though FWIW, I think that one had a more tightly controlled theme than this.)

    • emptywheel says:

      And that said, I think this ad appeals to a more viscerally felt emotion than 1984 did–to the resentment born of a bunch of pinheads trying to deprive you of your dignity.

    • SaltinWound says:

      I guess what I am saying is that there was no reason to ask people to reconsider Detroit in order to get them to reconsider Chrysler. Even if you could remind people that Detroit is the Paris of the West, what does that mean? I do not want to buy cars made in Paris or New York. But I do agree that the commercial works viscerally. And you are right, if they just took out the word luxury I would probably be fine with it. But they did hang a lot on that word and the logical links they were making.

  11. IntelVet says:

    Perhaps I am too old, but, that Chrysler ad evoked memories of the elegance and technological advances that Chrysler products once stood for, the hemi and truly civilized models like the New Yorker.

    Yes, not the fastest or most brutal but stylish (for the day) elegance with powerful hidden features. A giant V-8 hemi that got my mom’s 6000+ lb station wagon some 20+ mpg at 80, yet, (sigh) she could race anyone with great standing, at least from one stop light to another, rendering many testosterone fueled friends and challengers pretty awestruck as well as in her dust. The days of the Beach Boys, surfboards and 409s in SoCal.

    Perhaps some of you are over studying the ad…..

    Just sayin’

  12. hotdog says:

    Yay Detroit.

    Screw Chrysler.

    Chrysler isn’t Chrysler any more.

    What a bunch of chumps they must think people are. Time to go and drown your depressions in some Belgian owned Budweisers.

  13. WilliamOckham says:

    Advertising is more about how we want to feel about ourselves than about the particulars of the product. That’s why the Pepsi Max, GroupOn, and Doritos ads failed. but the Chrysler and the VW ads worked. The Chrysler ad was visually interesting, but left me a little meh, but that’s ok for Chrysler because I’m not their target audience. The VW worked better for me because it hasn’t been that long since I was the Dad who wanted to protect the dreams of my kids (my kids are older than that now).

    I’m actually the target audience for the Audi ad and that one worked for me. Not so much because it was a great ad, but because they aimed at one of my insecurities. I don’t want to be that rich guy. Audi is telling me that I can buy an Audi, get all the luxury, and still be cool. I know that is what they are doing, but it still works emotionally.

  14. beguiner says:

    The Chrysler add definitely stuck out among all of the other commercials. It seemed like everything else was a 3D kids movie or a joke about getting beaned in the gonads. I recall lots of pointed guns and even a prison rape joke or two. But the Chrysler add was just soothing to the eyes and ears. Beautiful photography and voice over building up to the Gospel. Very well done.

  15. Linnaeus says:

    I’d be interested in what people have to say about this critique of the Chrysler ad; I think there’s some fair points to be made, but it’s a little dismissive as to why it’s appealing.

    • emptywheel says:

      Eh. He pretty much concedes that it’s effective and then gets pissed because it doesn’t talk about the horrible things that have happened to and by the auto industry bc of globalization.

      Well, he can choose: no domestic auto industry, or one that makes good ads.

      Right now, the biggest liability for FOrd and a very big one for GM, too, is their crappy ass ads. It’s made all the worst because (at least last I checked) the crappy ad companies were doing the market research too, and consistently misunderstanding who the market for a car was. Look at the completely forgotten Focus reality show ad last night–cute idea, but not for that car. Ford likes to do the latest gimmicks, even if they’re not appropriate to the market in question.

      At last year’s auto show, Chrysler did nothing but the bimbo booth (chicks dressed in scanty but culture-specific outfits for each car). I was worried, then.

      But I actually think that Charger ad is VERY effective, because it targets its market very well. This one, maybe more so.

      Maybe Weinstein’s problem is 1) he’s not Chrysler’s target market, and 2) he doesn’t understand how a big percentage of Americans feel about themselves.

    • KrisAinCA says:

      I agree. Wonderful ad. I was impressed when I caught it in part during the game, and even more so when I looked it up on youtube this morning. I think the image of strength and dignity it projects is precisely the direction our country should be going.

  16. Larue says:

    Very interesting thread Mz. Wheeler, with great rhetorical/media analysis by yourself and all the others.

    Reminds me of my old Com Studies/Radio/TV daze.

    Thanks to all for sharing.

  17. tammanytiger says:

    It was my favorite ad of the Super Bowl (full disclosure: I live in Detroit’s western suburbs). I wonder how many people outside Michigan know about the Diego Rivera mural that was depicted in the ad.

  18. alan1tx says:

    Jerry Jones and the other greedy bastards

    Greedy bastard only contributes half a million dollars a year to charity.

    • nahant says:

      Lets face it a mere pittance for that rich fat Jerry the Greedy Bastard… He only gives because he can write it off his taxes… Same ol’e alan

      • alan1tx says:

        So much bile.

        He only gives because he can write it off his taxes.

        And you know this how? You’re his accountant, or is that your only reason for giving, if you give? And if you do, I hope someone worse off doesn’t look at you and call you a fat greedy bastard for doing it only for alterative motives.

        • nahant says:

          Football’s Billionaires

          While the creation of a high-tech, Texas-sized stadium would burden most owners with a crushing debt load, Jones recently reduced the leverage on the Cowboys from $625 million, or 39% of the team’s value in 2008, to $200 million, 12% of its current value.

          This deleveraging has increased the team’s net of debt value by 46%, from $989 million to $1.45 billion today.

          He is a cheap fat fucking prick.. Give me a fucking break500K for charity when he is worth 1.4- 1.6 BILLION!! Like I said alan you could chose better Perps to defend… 500K AYFKM???

          • alan1tx says:

            He is a cheap fat fucking prick.. Give me a fucking break

            It’s almost as if I’m listening to Mother Teresa herself.

            You seem perfectly suited to speak for the charitable givers of the world.

            I’ll continue to appreciate those who give, in any amount.

            And I’m not familiar with your radio station, 500K AYFKM.

            • nahant says:

              it is AreYouFuckingMe part of the radio spectrum.. Sheeshh I twould have thought a regular there… you spew that stuff all the time…

    • tjbs says:

      What percentage would that be ?

      If he makes a million it’s a big deal.

      If he makes 100 million and sells seats that don’t exist, well that’s a horse of a different color.

      • alan1tx says:

        Look up charity, percent doesn’t play into it.

        Kindness, something given to a person in need, yes.

        Fixation on money, calling others greedy, not so much.

        And for facts. The NFL took over Cowboys Stadium for the last two weeks. Jerry didn’t sell seats that didn’t exist, the NFL did.

        But that’s doesn’t fit the world view.

          • bmaz says:

            Wait. You guys are going at one another over whether someone neither one is close to gives enough to charity?? This is silly. alan1tx is right that any giving is good and to be commended; if Jones doesn’t give enough additional, that is not the fault of anybody here.

                • hektor6766 says:

                  America shouldn’t be a country wherein the poor are beholden to the enormously wealthy for alms. It has something to do with equality, independence and self-respect. I guess you and alan1tx don’t understand that.

                  • bmaz says:

                    What I understand is that that is a load of crap to throw at two people who did nothing more than agree that any charity is better than none.

  19. mzchief says:

    Great ad (nice shot of the DIAM). I’d like to see folks come together and this city rage back. The craftsmanship of the ancestors sits in a museum in Dearborn. Are you gonna leave it at that?

  20. StonyPillow says:

    Better Super Bowl commercial than Apple’s 1984. The racial subtext is incredibly perceptive and inspiring without being preachy.

    I’ll probably be able to afford payments on a 2011 Chrysler 200 when I buy it at Carmax in 2016 after the girls are out of college. But I’m going to stop in at a Chrysler dealer this weekend and take a look. And mention the “Imported From Detroit” commercial.

  21. donbacon says:

    It’ll take more than an ad.

    The Chrysler 200 is essentially a massive mid-cycle update for the crappy Sebring, riding on the same platform but with a new interior, exterior, suspension and top-level V6 engine.

    Pricing starts at $19,995 or $21,995 for the Touring 4-cyl and $23,790 for the V6. Limited models start at $24,495.

    The Chrysler mid-size will have to compete with:
    Ford Fusion MSRP: $19,695 – $28,505
    Hyundai Sonata MSRP: $19,195 – $27,045
    Toyota Camry MSRP: $19,595 – $29,245

    Good luck.

    • canadianbeaver says:

      Dear Lord not another Sebring. I had a 2003 and sold it after 2 years because it was a piece of crap. Repair after repair after repair. Remember the days when Chrysler meant the cheapest vehicles on the road to repair? Not anymore. They are junk. Eminem mustn’t be selling enough albums.

      • bmaz says:

        This is not 2003, that was eight years and two management teams ago. The 300 series, and its sister the Dodge Charger, have been fairly popular and fairly reliable mechanically. This is an entirely new car, it is not a Sebring. You don’t have to buy one, but you have no basis other than blind prejudice for the statements above. Maybe it will indeed turn out to be junk (I can certainly agree about the 2003 Sebring being junk), but if it follows on the the design and production values of the 300 Series, it may be a decent car. We shall see. I will say this, it better be a good car, it and a couple of other lines are carrying the entire future of Chrysler on their backs because selling some Fiat 500s, whether as Fiats or rebadged under the Chrysler marque, is not going to do the trick.

        • donbacon says:

          This is an entirely new car, it is not a Sebring.

          Having been uncompetitive for many years now and not building on a new platform, Chrysler remains at a serious disadvantage in a segment packed with power hitters—the Honda Accord, the Ford Fusion, and the Hyundai Sonata, to name a few. With a revised Chevrolet Malibu also on the way, Chrysler faces a steep uphill battle when the new 200 hits dealers at the end of this year. Good or bad, at least it isn’t called the Sebring anymore.

          Chrysler’s long-running Chrysler Sebring mid-size sedan is gone, sort of. The four-door, five-passenger, mid-size sedan is revamped for 2011 and given a new name — Chrysler 200.

          The 200 is the wrong car. No one confused the old Sebring with luxury and this car is an upgrade, but not a completely-new model.

          Compared with the 2010 Sebring and Avenger, the 2011 Chrysler 200 has stiffened body mounts and softer ride rate, improved suspension geometry with a raised roll center, a new rear sway bar, and new tires and an extensively upgraded treatment for the reduction of noise, vibration and harshness including acoustic laminated glass for the windshield and front door windows.

          Ding, dong, the Sebring’s dead. Say hello to the 2011 Chrysler 200, which is really just a heavily-revised Sebring. The 200 shares the Sebring’s hard points (doors, greenhouse, and wheelbase), but appears to have finally become the car that Chrysler should have introduced in 2007 instead of the Sebring that was bestowed upon us.

          • bmaz says:

            Well, okay, maybe “entirely” new was the wrong term. Few “new models” are ever entirely new in every regard. From my experience anyway, it does qualify as a new model. We will see how good it is. If the new Malibu is a fresh enough upgrade of what has been in production currently, then that, Fusion and the Hyundai are going to be awful stiff competition. There are a couple of demographics that buy the shit out of the 300/Chargers though; if they can tap into that and grow it a little, and make semi-healthy fleet sales – and assuming it is anywhere near competitive with the other three (which is still a big assumption) – then it may be enough. The track record is not good though; however five or six years ago the same could be said about GM, and they are making some very good and competitive vehicles now. But Chrysler ain’t GM, so I just don’t know….

        • canadianbeaver says:

          I don’t base my Chrysler is Junk attitude on just one vehicle. We can say what we want about so called imports having problems, but they are far superior, probably because they are mostly built in North America now! Chrysler has always been at the bottom of the heap for a reason. My parents only bought Dodge and Chrysler, and even though they loved them, they were all junk. There is very few products of long term corporations that have been improved upon.

          • bmaz says:

            Well, first off “most imports” are not made in the US, although I believe a majority (more than 50%) of Toyotas and most Hondas now are. That doesn’t of course mean that they are mostly American as many parts, components, body panels etc. are foreign made. But, quite frankly, the quality of comparable American cars such as the Malibu and Fusion compared to Camry, Sentra and even the lower line Accords and Civics has been every bit as good and in some cases noticeably better lately. The data simply does not any longer support that the quality of imports is better. Granted Chrysler is far behind Ford and GM, but if the 200 can be brought up to or near the standards they have, and are improving, on the 300 line, then it will at least be in the game. We shall see.

          • rustbeltblues says:

            “I don’t base my Chrysler is Junk attitude on just one vehicle. We can say what we want about so called imports having problems, but they are far superior, probably because they are mostly built in North America now! Chrysler has always been at the bottom of the heap for a reason. My parents only bought Dodge and Chrysler, and even though they loved them, they were all junk. There is very few products of long term corporations that have been improved upon.” canadianbeaver @ 82

            My wife has had three Chrysler convertibles continuously since 1988, a 1988 LeBaron, a 2000 Sebring, and a 2005 Crossfire. The LeBaron was assembled in the U.S., the Sebring in Mexico (Japanese V-6), the Crossfire in Germany. All fine cars with a normal range of problems.

            Full disclosure; I worked as an engineer for Ford in Dearborn, MI and am unimpressed with marketing claims made by any auto manufacturer/marketing agency. While at Ford I owned a white Ford Crown Victoria, a large but very dull vehicle not without problems. It was built in Canada. I believe it did save me from many speeding tickets and stopped at least one robbery since it was hard to distinguish from a police car. In fact, I affectionately referred to it as “the police car”.

            Truth be told, you can buy a badge engineered Volkswagon van made in Canada, other VWs made in Brazil or Mexico, Kias, Mercedes, and BMWs built in the redneck south of the US, or whatever. Girls will be boys and boys will be girls…

            The point is make your own decision and do not put too much trust in the advertising or fluff in trade magazines.

            The bottom line is that

    • 300SDL says:

      Excellent point. Had it not been for Fiat Chrysler probably would have been out of business. They are far behind in fuel efficient vehicles and no matter how supposedly good their 200, 300 and recycled Barracuda and Charger are, that is not what the public is looking for. They are looking at what people like Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai have–decent performance combined with fuel efficiency. Chrysler promotes luxury because they are high margin vehicles maximizing their return to stakeholders—the same thing that got GM in trouble.

      No matter how dignified this commercial presents them to be, they are still have to connect with what consumers want. Chrysler is not a cutting edge company anymore and this commercial does not change that reality.

  22. duncan says:

    The 300 has the five link from the old E-Class Merc. Cars derived from the 300 now include the Charger and the Challenger. Not a bad platform, though: stiff enough and good suspension geometry. Chrysler has made noticeable refinements, including a very impressive new V6 and outstanding mods to the transmission. Truly outstanding. I rented a Challenger and was duly impressed.

    Haven’t driven the Sebring, but if this car is a refinement along the lines of the 300s it could be significant. Refinement is often better than re-invention. Look at how Mercedes used the same platforms and basic technologies for years while GM spend billions re-inventing the wheel only to leave a lot of their new wonder tech on the shop floor, year after year. Daimler decided to become more marketing driven and innovative in the late 90s with mixed results.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that’s about right. I will have to touch and drive one, but have an inkling it will be a quantum improvement. What wouldn’t be over the Sebring; question is whether it is enough of an improvement and whether people will buy it. But the 300 platform has a lot more units on the road than people think; they do sell. We shall see as to the 200. By the way, Chrysler is releasing an updated “new model” for the 300 line this year too.

      • duncan says:

        If the 200 is anything like the Challenger I drove, I recommend you give it a shot. The power package is outstanding, just the V6 and the auto. Low end stuff, but for refinement and power delivery it stacks up with recent BMWs I’ve driven. No wandering around looking for a gear. And the fuel-saving “coast” feature actually works. The car glides when you take your foot off the gas, then no jerkiness in the drivetrain when you reload with power. Very nice engineering.

        I haven’t driven the multi-dis V8s, but I hear they did a good job with that system as well. Not at all like the old, disastrous “V-8-6-4” from GM. Now, if GM had simply stuck with that concept and refined it maybe they’d have interesting and useful technology there instead of allowing Chrysler to steal the march.

        • bmaz says:

          I understand the upline 200s will have the Pentastar V-6, which is a very good engine. Likely what was in the Challenger you drove (this will be the base engine in the new 300 I think, which really would make even a lower line car a pretty decent ride). I am not a target for the 200 because it is front wheel drive and I just do not do that. By the way, I believe the eight speed ZF auto transmission will be available on the new 300 and Challenger; that could be an impressive combo with either the Pentastar or the Hemi.

  23. mzchief says:

    OT– From “Captured Google Engineer Speaks On Camera After Egypt Releases Him” (Matt Rosoff, Feb. 7, 2011, 7:01 PM) with embedded video:

    Google’s Middle East marketing leader Wael Ghonim, who was imprisoned by Egyptian authorities for 12 days for participating in anti-government protests, spoke on camera after his release earlier today. The video is below — click on the “CC” button for English subtitles.

    In another interview, Ghonim says he tricked his employer so he could attend the protests.

    * phew! *

  24. richmx2 says:

    Oh, please! It’s just a paean to conspicuous consumption and the wasteful “American Way of Life” dressed up as working class heroism.

  25. canadianbeaver says:

    Would it be too much to ask of one of these big corporations to design a nice car, comfortable, have some power, and not burn up gasoline like it will last forever? Would that be too much to ask? Even the small to midsize vehicles are truly gasguzzlers compared to what they could and should be. Why would anyone in this economy need a vehicle to show off how rich they think they are?

  26. pseudonymousinnc says:

    Ad of the night for me. It wasn’t selling a car: it was selling an idea, a narrative of American industry.

    Interesting to see it juxtaposed against the BMW one, highlighting its SUV plant in Spartanburg, SC, because that ad was also selling an idea of American industry, but one premised on very different terms. (It felt almost like competing election ads.)

    The ‘luxury’ line is a tricky one: do Americans still picture a Town Car or a Cadillac to fit that epithet? Even if they do, they ain’t Chrysler. And the 200 will have to be a damn sight better than the Sebring.

  27. HanTran says:

    Maybe the first American ad i have ever seen that was deeply and seriously populist/progressive in style. I am not convinced that the creators of this ad really cared if it “worked”, it said what they wanted to say.

  28. dustbunny44 says:

    I thought this ad was the most thought-provoking and my favorite moment of this year’s super bowl – yeah, that includes the game too (More than any other sport’s culmination, this event is nearly always disappointing but fascinating in a “let’s watch the full symphony just fall apart and the building too”, a house-of-usher kind of way).
    Not sure what it said; maybe that Detroit is leading the USA in the adoption of our post-apocalyptic vision of ourselves, that this is the first place that America can go to see what we look like after we all agree that “we’re #1” in no way applies any more.

  29. substanti8 says:

    The premise of the ad seems to be that global warming and peak oil don’t exist.

    Denial is a ridiculous foundation for rebuilding industry.

    Building more motor vehicles in a country where cars outnumber people is like hitting the accelerator as civilization goes over the cliff.  That is the more appropriate visual – rather then nostalgic nonsense.