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DIGITAL MEDIA MASTERS;STEVE TOROK;CHRYSLER CORP.

By Published on .

Thanks to steve torok and a little bit of interactive magic, Plymouth is recreating itself as a young, fun and affordable automaker.

As general manager of Chrysler-Plymouth, Mr. Torok helped implement Plymouth Place, an interactive kiosk and product display featured at shopping malls nationwide. Plymouth Place was one of the first automotive kiosks that let would-be buyers specify and price the options on a Plymouth model as well as competitors' cars. The mall sites are staffed by product specialists, but they don't handle sales to create a low-pressure atmosphere.

Plymouth tested the concept at shopping malls in two cities in 1995. That fall, it began expanding the program, culminating in the launch of the all-new Breeze sedan in January 1996 at more than 115 malls.

"Almost a quarter of those who bought a Breeze said they first saw and learned about it at Plymouth Place," said Mr. Torok, who was named to his current post in March. Plus, Plymouth Place averages close to one million visitors a month.

With that kind of success, Chrysler is widening the program under Mr. Torok's baton. This fall, he'll oversee the expansion of Plymouth Place to all of Chrysler's other brands and to sites outside of shopping malls. Additionally, Mr. Torok is overseeing a massive upgrade of Chrysler's marketing and sales technology. One program will link part of Chrysler's database to the Internet, dealer computers and consumer kiosks, which Chrysler claims other carmakers can't do now.

Betcha didn't know: Mr. Torok makes it a point NOT to read non-fiction outside the office. "I figure I have too many facts and figures in my head already."

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