Chrysler Group is rethinking its licensed-merchandise program and how it sells things like branded shirts and gear online, as well as which products make sense for which brands.
The automaker, which has one of the larger licensed-merchandise programs in the business -- for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep (particularly Jeep) brands -- is also expanding the program by inking licensing deals with companies like American Apparel.
The "Chrysler Collection," which really got going in 2003 as an effort to build a lifestyle identity around cars like the then-new Crossfire roadster and to help identify Chrysler as an upscale brand, comprises luggage, gift items, and high-end clothing. The company will now offer humidors, black leather portfolios and premium writing instruments on its Web site, as well as a leather wine bottle carrier, a three-finger cigar case and a leather tote from Clava. Clothing includes cashmere sweaters and oxford shirts.
The Dodge product line includes items designed by Winnie Cheung, Vince Galante and Tome Jovanoski branded with a new "D" logo. The clothes for men, women and kids also have logos from iconic Dodge vehicles of yore: Super Bee, Challenger and Charger. The brand's licensing program is handled by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Brand Sense Partners.
Jeep, whose licensing has been handled for years by New York-based Joester Loria Group -- which also handles the Chrysler brand -- is offering Jeep-like items such as trail headlamps, UV-filtering sunglasses, a Swiss Army rescue tool, fleece and water-resistant jackets and vests, and military-themed T's from American Apparel.
Under the now-separate Ram pickup sub-brand are cowhide work gloves, a heavy-duty G-Shock watch with atomic timing, and an 18-can cooler in camouflage, as well as work apparel, and American Apparel T-shirts. A Chrysler spokesperson says the company hired marketing services firm Helm Inc. to handle merchandising management and inventory.
"Merchandise has always been on our vehicle Web sites, but we took a deeper look at the look and feel and content. A trail light wouldn't be on the Dodge site. And it's not just polo shirts with the brand logo; we have really thought about each brand's consumer."