Special Coverage

Auto Interiors Conference

DEARBORN, MI – Chrysler Group LLC’s color-coordinated marketing scheme promises to strike a chord with consumers, a leading color analyst says.

In the wake of last year’s bankruptcy, Chrysler is seeking to establish a fresh, identifiable image in the minds of consumers. Part of the auto maker’s strategy to achieve this goal involves aligning each of its brands with a color.

Blue will dominate Chrysler ads to suggest elegance, red will distinguish Dodge’s bold character, green for Jeep’s outdoorsy reputation and grey for Ram’s ruggedness, says Jim Parker, head of the auto maker’s design office color studio.

Can this really work? It’s happened before, says Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of the United States, a New York-based lifestyle think tank. Nothing says Tiffany’s like a blue box, while the Pink Panther is instantly associated with glass- fiber manufacturer Owens Corning Inc., Harrington tells the Ward’s Auto Interiors Conference here.

Even brown is sexy, thanks to United Parcel Service Inc.

“Color goes straight to the heart,” Harrington says. “Color is a language that, intuitively, we all speak.”

Some 60% of consumer decisions are based on color, she adds, paying tribute to Chrysler partner Fiat Automobiles SpA for a campaign that challenged consumers to suggest the best colors with which to adorn its 500 B-segment car.

Such adventurousness is inspiring Chrysler as it prepares to roll out a rejuvenated lineup this year – a product offensive that officially begins Friday with a ceremony to mark the rollout of the first redesigned-for-’11 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Parker says.

“Its interior showcases the finest in materials and finishes, the harmonious use of colors and executed with world-class craftsmanship,” Parker claims. “Our future Jeep interiors will have rich, natural color toning complimented by authentic, premium quality materials, anodized and organic-inspired finishes and soft interior lighting.”

Chrysler is building the Grand Cherokee at its Jefferson Avenue assembly plant in Detroit.

emayne@wardsauto.com