In addition to areas for each of its vehicle brands, Chrysler is setting up 5,500 square feet of its display for Mopar, its factory parts and accessories business. It will be the largest display for Mopar at the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public Jan. 18. (Chrysler)
Chrysler Group LLC wants you to know that you can have it your way when buying a new car or truck, and the company is devoting a big hunk of its space in Cobo Center this year to making sure you do.
Along with areas devoted to each of its vehicle brands — Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat and SRT — Chrysler is setting aside 5,500 square feet of its display for Mopar, its factory parts and accessories business, in an effort to showcase the new offerings available from the Mopar Custom Shop, factory upfitters that are now located on-site at each of the automaker’s North American plants.
It will be Mopar’s largest display ever at the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the press Monday and to the public Jan. 18.
“We will have vehicles and parts displays to help the consumer understand the options that are available to them,” said Tricia Hecker, head of marketing for the Mopar brand at Chrysler. “We’re trying to highlight the broad scale of the Mopar Custom Shop.”
Thanks to these new factory customization shops, customers can have a wide array of parts and accessories installed on their Chrysler vehicles when they order them — everything from performance modifications such as cat-back exhaust systems and cold air intakes to added bling in the form of custom wheels and spoilers.
“It’s an opportunity for them to have their brand-new car their way,” Hecker told The Detroit News, adding that service is now available for every vehicle from every Chrysler brand sold in the United States.
While most of these components can be purchased from aftermarket companies, Hecker said ordering direct from the factory provides real benefits to the customer — and to Chrysler.
For customers, it means better warranty protection and the ability to finance parts purchases. Any parts added at the factory appear on the vehicle’s window sticker, which means they can be financed as part of the transaction. They also are covered by the vehicle’s bumper-to-bumper warranty, which is usually more generous than those offered by aftermarket parts manufacturers.
Factory-installed parts go through much more thorough safety and reliability testing, Hecker said, adding that many aftermarket parts are not tested at all.
For Chrysler, the benefit is an opportunity to cash in on the lucrative aftermarket parts business and increased customer loyalty.
Chrysler’s research shows that consumers who customize their vehicles have a stronger affinity for the product and the brand. That means they are more likely to be repeat customers.
In addition to displaying actual vehicles, Chrysler will show off its Internet applications designed to help consumers customize their vehicle before ordering it.
Chrysler has developed a Web-based “build-your-own configurator” for each of its cars and trucks. Hecker said this is important, because many vehicle purchases now start online.
The company has even developed an “augmented reality” app for the iPad to help Ram buyers customize their trucks. It pops up when the tablet’s camera is pointed at a Ram logo on any display model in the showroom. Ram trucks are among the most customized vehicles Chrysler sells.
Mopar’s presence at auto shows has been growing since Fiat SpA took control of Chrysler in 2009, reflecting the growing importance of the parts business to the company’s bottom line.
“This is a great addition to the Mopar Garage, which we introduced last year as a display to give consumers a look at how to customize their current vehicles with an incredible selection of aftermarket quality Mopar parts and accessories,” said Mopar President Pietro Gorlier.
Mopar offers some 280,000 different parts for vehicles sold in the United States, and that number is growing by about 1,500 items annually.