Throughout this exercise, I encountered several domains used to promote Chrysler vehicles. Today we have four examples of this (well, three good examples and one sort-of “meh?” example). We’ll take these sites alphabetically:
First up is this two-page spread for the Chrysler Sebring Coupe and Convertible:
One of our neighbors actually has one of these Sebring convertibles. The front bumper is hanging off rather precariously. And it’s often covered in bird poop. And they regularly park on the sidewalk.
I’m sure they have their reasons.
What we care about today is this really tiny print in the very bottom right-hand corner of the ad:
These days, if you want to learn about Chrysler’s very thin (and mostly outdated) lineup of cars, you will go to Chrysler.com. Back when this ad was published in early 1999, Chrysler.com redirected to a Daimler Chrysler site (spoilers!).
Apparently, to drive customers to information just about cars, Chrysler used ads like the one above to promote ChryslerCars.com. Twenty-plus years later, this is a bit tough to confirm as the Wayback Machine doesn’t have a great capture of ChryslerCars.com in its archives.
Something tells me this is no great historical loss.
Anyway, this is what happens when you try to go to ChryslerCars.com today:
Yeah, there’s no big surprise here. Like the bird-poop-encrusted Sebring parked across the street, ChryslerCars.com has been neglected for a while now.
I have not been terribly impressed with Chrysler’s online strategy throughout this exercise and this example isn’t helping. Part of my disappointment is because a quick check of WhoIs.com shows that FCA (now Stellantis?) still owns ChryslerCars.com.
Really Chrysler people? You can’t be bothered to redirect your own website to something useful? This isn’t a good look.
Okay, fine. So if ChryslerCars.com was left to die a slow death, we have another domain featured in this older ad from March 1997:
Remember the Plymouth Prowler? I recall hearing that it was a lot of show and not much go. I can’t confirm or deny that – I’ve never driven one.
But I have used the Internet! And this ad suggests I use the Internet to go to ChryslerCorp.com:
That’s a little different than what we saw before, but that’s fine. And maybe this site will have more corporate information (instead of specific car information):
Or maybe this site no longer exists.
And, here again, checking WhoIs.com shows that FCA still owns the domain. And, while, yes, the Chrysler brand may soon go the way of Oldsmobile and Mercury, the company’s bleak future wasn’t always so dark. That’s why we still hold out hope for these old domains and why we feel such disappointment when the fail us miserably.
Now, let’s muddy the already-murky waters of Chrysler’s brand identity with a bit of history. Back in the day, Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) acquired Chrysler and all of its brands under the notion that the two were a “merger of equals.”
That partnership didn’t really work out in the end and the two parted ways a few years later.
Still, the legacy of the DaimlerChrysler era lives on in print ads such as this one:
Most people probably don’t even remember the GEM as it was such a low-volume vehicle reserved for specific applications. I think I’ve only seen a couple, and they were always in airports or convention centers.
Still, the folks at Chrysler wanted you to think this was the start of something big! Nearly two decades later, we’re still waiting for Chrysler to put out anything close to a competitive electric vehicle.
But that’s neither here nor there because the part we care about is the printing in the very lower right-hand corner of the ad:
On the surface, this URL makes sense. The company was known as DaimlerChrysler, so it makes sense to promote DaimlerChrysler.com.
Fast forward many years and Daimler and Chrysler have gone separate ways, Chrysler joined Fiat to create FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and now FCA has partnered up with Peugeot/Citroen to create Stellantis. Obviously, this time the partnership will last. Of course it will. Why would there be any doubt?
But how long did DaimlerChrysler.com last? Not very long, apparently, because this is what we get today:
Now, I guess I can’t be too critical with this one. Something tells me both Daimler and Chrysler would like to forget this failed marriage so it’s no surprise that they have let the old domain die (even though Daimler apparently still owns the domain).
That said, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. Maybe Daimler should do something with the domain to promote a more positive image of the company’s future?
Our last foray into Chrysler’s branding takes us to a sub-brand used for Chrysler parts and service: Mopar:
Those of use who follow the car industry are familiar with Mopar as the parts division of Chrysler (and Dodge and Jeep, etc.). But how many people who don’t follow cars know about Mopar? Maybe that’s why we were confronted with ads like the one above.
And, of course, there’s a website to visit, printed in the lower right-hand corner:
Apparently, Mopar stands for Motor Parts. Clever. And it makes for a tidy URL at Mopar.com.
And Mopar is still a brand used by Chrysler, so certainly Mopar.com is still a valid site today, right?
And, hey! Mopar.com is still valid! Again, this isn’t so much of a surprise since Mopar is still a brand used by Chrysler today. But it’s refreshing to see at least some decent web management from a company with a long string of failures.