'Home for the Holidays' Campaign Breaks Tonight

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DETROIT ( -- Chrysler Group, Auburn Hills, Mich., has upped the ante in the latest round of car wars by beefing up its warranty on all 2001 and 2002 Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler models.

The deal is temporary -- it starts today runs to Dec. 31. The marketer upped its coverage from the traditional industry standard of three years, 36,000 miles to seven years, 100,000 miles.

Omnicom Group's PentaMark Worldwide, Troy, Mich., created a new 60-second spot that breaks nationally tonight and will go into rotation with ads for Chrysler's earlier incentive, zero-percent financing.

The new creative, which includes an ad in Friday's USA Today, reflects the promotion's theme, "Home for the Holidays," based Chrysler's research that purportedly found consumers want to travel less by plane and more by car and that they want to travel with family and to family for the holidays.

Like Hyundai and Kia
Chrysler is taking a page from the playbook of hot South Korean auto importers Hyundai Motor America and its sibling, Kia Motors America.

Hyundai, whose sales were sagging in fall 1998, began offering a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty on all 1999 models. The marketer has aggressively hammered home its "Hyundai Advantage" warranty message since then in ads from Cordiant Communications Group's Bates USA West, Irvine, Calif. Kia later adopted the same warranty.

With improved products and competitive pricing, both brands have enjoyed rising double-digit unit sales this year.

But it took consumers "almost eight months to really comprehend" Hyundai's warranty offer, said Jim Sanfilippo, formerly a vice president of marketing at Kia and now an executive vice president at consultancy AMCI.

Regarding Chrysler's new warranty deal, Mr. Sanfilippo said, "Doing this temporarily doesn't carry the impact of doing it permanently."

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