Chrysler Group LLC is considering expanding its successful Ram truck promotional tie-in with Detroit’s professional hockey team to other sports and cities, Fred Diaz, head of the Ram truck brand, said.
Ram sold about 3,000 of the Red Wings edition of the Ram 1500, which went on sale in November 2011, triple what the company expected, Diaz said in an interview yesterday at the New York auto show.
“It’s actually an experiment that we did with Detroit and it worked out so incredibly well, we’re looking at the possibility of doing other things with other sports,” Diaz said. “You have to have a rabid fan base. Then you have to get the rights. We’ve got our feelers out to see what could work.”
U.S. pickup sales are dominated by Chrysler, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. and the trucks generate much of their profit. U.S. pickup sales will top 1.7 million this year, up more than 50 percent from 2009’s low of 1.1 million, according to forecasts by researchers IHS Automotive and LMC Automotive. Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne has said the Detroit automakers will defend the market from trucks offered by Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.
Diaz said he doesn’t foresee Ram signing agreements with entire professional sports leagues. The Red Wing 1500 pickup, a $399 option, came in red, white or black, according to Chrysler. Features included the team’s logo on the front-seat headrests.
“We’ll pick our spots and our moments and if we feel like we have a good opportunity, we’ll do it,” he said.
Ram didn’t offer the Red Wings package this year because of the labor dispute that shortened the National Hockey League season. The company expects to offer it again next season, Diaz said. Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler is majority owned by Turin-based Fiat SpA.