Detroit's Chrysler Group, a majority-owned subsidiary of Italian automotive giant Fiat SpA, recently began offering an American Delivery Option, or ADO, to well-heeled international buyers of its vehicles.
As a segue from Chrysler's recent "Imported from Detroit" campaign, marketers began to explore new delivery channels that could help ensure strong profit margins while creating a uniquely American, brand-enhancing experience for their customers. In a similar vein to many existing European delivery options from brands such as Volvo and BMW, Chrysler has pitched this new option as an all-inclusive package deal aimed at European, South American, and Asian buyers to include the following:
- Round-trip airfare for two on United Airlines, including drink vouchers and pre-paid baggage fees
- Two nights' accommodation at the Tropic Motel in beautiful Mexicantown, Michigan, just a short drive from Downtown Detroit
- Ground transportation to and from Chrysler Headquarters*
- Guided group tour of Chrysler Headquarters (7:00am or 5:30pmtours)
- Food vouchers for lunch and dinner at participating area Applebee's restaurants
- Temporary license plates and registration valid for up to 30 days**
- Ship-board transportation of vehicle to port nearest buyer's home city***
*taxi reimbursement with valid receipt; maximum $30 **DMV visit required ***dockside pickup required at customer's expense; all cities except Barranquilla, Guangzhou, and Lisbon require additional fees
Priced at a flat fee of $1,500 (plus the full MSRP purchase of a new Chrysler vehicle), the plan is expected to gain quick traction with prospective buyers.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne quickly gave his blessing to the American Delivery Option, insisting that "Most affluent European buyers of American cars have little concept of what most of America is like. A big part of taking the Chrysler brand back to its blue-collar American roots is to show our customers the 'real America,' a continent which was named for an Italian. Two continents, actually."
When asked whether this affluent cohort of customers might be underwhelmed by such a visit to the grittier, less flashy parts of America, Marchionne replied "Have you seen most of Europe or Asia? Behind the facades of rich history, most of it is like America was 50 years ago. Maybe 100 years. I consider this visit a step up for them."
Chrysler design head Ralph Gilles reportedly took issue with the initial plan, arguing on twitter that "These Dagos think they know the real America, they are full of shit! #sergio #detroit #idowhateveriwant." However, after closed-door talks at Fiat's Sicilian corporate retreat in April, a rested and bandaged Gilles retracted the statement, supporting his boss's plan and tweeting "I, for one, welcome my new Italian overlords #chrysler #americandelivery"