Chrysler Corp. will introduce its entire 1981 model line in Washington beginning today, with a classic sales example of trying to turn a negative into a positive by working hard and keeping fingers crossed.
Frank Hoag, director of advertising merchandising, said two factors almost dictated the Chrysler fall advertising attack, which will be based on an appeal to nationalism and "the American way to beat the [gasoline] pump."
Those are: First, the huge national awareness of the company's problems and its coming K cars; second, the lingering, seemingly unshakeable image of being a gas-guzzler company.
National Chrysler studies show a remarkable 30 percent awareness that the company will have something called the K car this fall. But few Americans have known that the cars are called Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries and that they will be six-passenger, four-cyclinder, front-wheel-drive vehicles.
If the car brings people to the showrooms and they are successfully sold as well as other Chrysler products, the effort will have worked.
But there also is the continuing public perception by three-fourths of the American public that Chrysler has been a producer of "gas-guzzlers." However, the company makes more models that deliver more than 25 miles per gallon than either General Motors or Ford.