By on February 5, 2011

Just received this email from Chrysler Communications in my Outlook. It starts: “Dear Bertel: Who won the battle between the flakes of last week and the four-wheel drives from Chrysler Group LLC?”

Now that raised my interest. Did some folks with an Explorer or a Denali call out Dodge to a duel? Or did I just miss another RAM Challenge? And Chrysler PR calls the other guys “flakes?” Are the gloves coming off?

Imagine my disappointment when the flakes turned out to be … snowflakes. The flaky ad is scheduled to air in select markets (guess those with the most snow) tomorrow and then go national Monday. And what’s with “We are never neutral?”

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33 Comments on “Chrysler Wins Against „Flakes“...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Rigggggggghhhhhhhhhhhttttttttttttttt.  Who do you guys think you are?  Subaru? 

    • 0 avatar

      Well I can say this:
       
      I’ve been driving on pure ICE for the past 2 weeks  with my RWD 300c SRT8. So long as I keep my foot off the accelerator, I don’t lose control. when I forget and the car starts to yaw, all I do is let the ESC compensate and I’m back on track in 2 seconds.   2, long, scary, seconds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI6iQHOVtT4

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Hey I do alright with a 2wd 2004 F150 Heritage with good all-terrain tires.  When it snows I shovel the snow from my driveway in the back and keep the tank full for the extra weight. 

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      Dan: When I had a truck that lived outside I always did that; got the driveway clear and added weight to the back of the truck. Plus, I didn’t have to unload it again – in the Pacific northwest it always melts after a few days. Win all around.

  • avatar
    AJ

    That is funny about people going crazy with a little snow falling. When the recent ice storm hit my area, a local reporter was doing a story about people stocking up at the grocery store. It’s always a good laugh.
    I do have to say how nice it is having 4WD. I passed a number of FWD cars spinning their tires.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Obviously, some of the posters here haven’t been to the Toledo, Ohio area where a couple inches of snow causes panic almost as bad as seen in the ad. We had a couple inches yesterday, and on the way home, I saw two FWD cars stuck in drifts at intersections, and a couple more off the road completely. I just drove on by them in my original all season tired Challenger, supposedly a “bad” car in the snow, without a single issue. I even tried purposely to get the back end to come around, and it was difficult to make it do it! The snow was the kind that was very easy to drive in, so I don’t know how these people managed to get FWD cars into the trouble they did. I’ve never seen the panic over snow, year after year, that we have in this area. A friend of mine grew up in Buffalo, and he thinks it’s hilarious. His wife is from here, and she panics when more than an inch comes down. She works for her dad, and constantly calls off due to being too scared to drive. It’s crazy.

  • avatar
    Doc

    Does “never neutral” mean that they will not offer boring cars? They will always go for it? Not sure their current line up reflects that but if that is what they mean, I can respect that.
    Every manufacturer has all wheel drive offerings, so I am not so sure that this is a good selling point.

    • 0 avatar
      daga

      “never neutral” is unfortunately broad but okay.  Seem worlds apart and improved from “runs deep”.  It may be difficult to back up when you aren’t selling niche volumes.  It lacks a bit compared with tag lines that claim “relentless pursuit of perfection” “engineering like no other” and “ultimate driving machine” in that those all point to a good place and Dodge’s line just says “we’ll be different” but no necessarily in a good way, just in uniqueness.  So it feels like it’s missing the second phrase.
      I like the hat tip to last year’s ads with the Heart-loving charger girl having traded up to the new model but not changed her clothes yet.

  • avatar

    Chrysler would be better served going over news footage and YouTube videos of the blizzard and picking out scenes where Jeeps and AWD Chrysler and Dodge products are outperforming other cars in the snow. This ad may be timely but it’s not as effective as real world stuff. Interview the guy who used his Grand Cherokee to get folks unstuck. VW used to run an ad for the Rabbit showing a plow driver who got to work during snowstorms in his Rabbit. That kind of real people stuff works better than Hollywood productions.

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      This past Wednesday after the latest snowmageddon in  Detroit’s northern suburbs, I was shoveling the snow and the only two vehicles making their way out of my subdivision was a Grand Cherokee and a Wrangler. Sure miss my Cherokee and Durango at these times, well except for that gas mileage issue.

    • 0 avatar

      If you live in SEMI you know we got another 4-6″ this afternoon. I was watching a young lady in an ’03ish Mustang GT trying to get traction leaving a gas station.

    • 0 avatar
      daga

      I agree that some real world stuff could have been good, but I like the ad nonetheless.  I admire the speed at getting this ad out considering the snowpocalypse thing is from this week.  Chevy would have taken 2 months to concept, shoot, edit and place.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Would it help if I took real-world pictures of Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles in the ditch?

      Yes, it happens.  In fact, the local TV station ran a story the other day, SUV accident rates increase in winter, relative to other vehicle types.  4WD and AWD are useful but, far too often, give you the over-confidence necessary to do something stupid.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I love this ad.  I grew up in northern Indiana, which is definitely snow country.  I now live about 100 miles south of there, and we get much less.  This ad captures the vibe in this area when the first flakes hit.  My wife accuses me of having a superiority complex about snow.  She may be right.  Oh well.
    As an aside, I have never owned a 4 wheel or all wheel drive vehicle.  Front drive or well balanced rear drive will be just fine if you have some sense and get some experience.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Saw the ad yesterday and really like it.
     
    Here in MT, AWD can be a great thing. Just this morning we had another quick blizzard, slippery as all heck.
     
    A 2011 AWD Charger RT is top on my list. Waiting for them to arrive at dealers.
     
    Of course, if the Charger SRT8 has a stick… I’ll hold out for that.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Great. Just great. The clueless idjits will buy these things thinking they’re unstoppable in the snow and they’ll wind up in a snowbank during the first snowstorm they encounter.
    Never Neutral? No manual transmissions then?

  • avatar
    ajla

    We are never neutral.
     
    If I die, tell my wife I said “hello”.

  • avatar
    morbo

    This is brilliant, for those of us (now) living in places that don ‘t normally get snow.  As a Jersey transplant to DC, I’m amazed at how the locals freak the fark out over a couple inches of snow.  They really do mob the supermarkets and drug stores for all the bread, milk, and eggs.  Abd as someone that grew up driving cop cars (Chevy Caprice, Ford Panthers), I love real wheel drive in the snow.  It’s fun once you stop being afraid of sliding.

  • avatar
    Mike C.

    I thought maybe the kind of flakes Frank Zappa was singing about…  ‘where’s my motor? well it was eaten by snakes”…

  • avatar

    @mazder3: Sure, this will happen. But worse, they don’t simply end up in a snow bank.
    After Audi as a pioneer introduced their AWD cars here, within short time assurance rates for Audi AWDs skyrocketed.
    The reason was that some Audi AWD drivers got over-optimistic regarding the power of of AWD against the basic laws of physics. They too often went simply off the road. Too fast, at the wrong time, at the wrong place.

  • avatar

    I’ve been driving for almost 40 years, in Michigan. I’ve used RWD (front engine and rear engined), FWD, 4WD and AWD and I think I’ve gotten stuck less than a half dozen times when I couldn’t rock it out myself. Once was in a VW Bus that got stuck in an ice rut, another time was when there was an icy parking lot and the car just slid over a curb with one wheel hanging over a drainage culvert (not good w/ FWD and no LSD) – fortunately it was so slippery that the folks who helped me and I just slid the car back to where the wheel was on solid ground.

    Whenever I travel on an Interstate in bad weather and see bunches of cars and trucks in the ditch I wonder if some folks just don’t have that feeling in their ass and in their inner ears. I can recall times where I felt the front end start to dance a little so I backed it down to 60 and then see a half dozen cars that apparently didn’t back it down off the side of the road.
    Another thing, AWD and FWD do not change the laws of physics.
    That being said, for driving in Michigan I recommend AWD or 4WD, it’s much less stressful.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Yeah, you’ve got to know the “driving dynamics” of your car no matter what it is.  I once got stuck in a 1982 Chevy Celebrity but that was my own stupidity, being a 16 year old kid.  I know what my vehicles can and can’t do. 

    • 0 avatar
      MikeInCanada

      “I wonder if some folks just don’t have that feeling in their ass and in their inner ears.”
       
      I would have to argue that a significant percentage of folks do not, in fact, have any sensory abilities other then eating and sleeping.  Many of these people have drivers licenses and can be found next to you at almost any local stoplight.
       
      Yes, people do seem to panic at the first snowflake.  While it is quite humorous it’s actually a reasonable response of a population that can barely drive on bright sunny days.
       
      I have yet to meet a housewife that is not completely convinced that the higher the seating position in the SUV – the safer the vehicle is (inertia, brake energies, what sort of gibberish are you talking about?).
       
      God bless ’em but there is no convincing them otherwise – and they’re coming your way. Seriously. Here they come – get the hell out the way -she’s not stopping…..!

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Last winter, I was on the I84 in New York doing about 55 as conditions started to deteriorate. It had been raining and the road looked clear. I felt the slightest lightening of the steering and immediately lifted off the throttle. It was black ice. The car ahead of me began fishtailing and a little further down the road, an SUV had run off the right side. I got through it just fine.
       
      Maybe it’s my motorcycling experience, but I’m very sensitive to any change in road feel.
       
      And, of course, I have to put in my pitch for a really good set of winter tires. I put four new Blizzaks on my RWD STS (the old ones had worn out) and I’m thoroughly impressed. They were advertised as improved and I completely agree. Last night I squeezed my car into an ice-covered parking space in Queens and I had absolutely zero problems with traction. The Camry parked a couple of spaces ahead of me needed three people pushing it to get out of an open-ended space. This morning I was driving in very slippery conditions and the car tracked and held the road beautifully. AWD? Unnecessary.

    • 0 avatar
      daga

      Presumably, you use snow tires.  I would wager that the vast majority of the ditch bunches are rocking all seasons.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    What’s “sno”?

    – Flybrian, from West Central Florida

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Loved this ad, and not just because I have an AWD Dodge, but mostly because of the grocery store riot scene. Exactly what it was like earlier this week here in mid-Michigan

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    “Never Neutral”?  Really lame.  The ad however, while in need of some improvement, does make me chuckle as I live in an area that gets snow, but usually not too much.  Certainly not enough for me as I consider snow to be like money – you can have too much, but its hard to – but the panic shopping is for real.  Eggs, milk, bread, and the most current trend: the empty Redbox DVD rental machine.  I laugh when the weather folks spread panic and a red warning bar crawls at the bottom of the TV for a day.
     
    I made it through the snowiest January on all season tires on an Altima.  Stuck a total of 0 times.  Close calls:  One, when a 2wd Ranger was fishtailing up a very modest grade and I had no choice but to go around him.  Good thing that was o’dark thirty and there was no oncoming traffic.  Around here AWD is not necessary, but when I move to New England, I think I will have a AWD winter rat so the performance car can sleep the winter away.
     
    Regarding modern cars and slippery conditions, I have mixed feelings about all the electronic aids.  It is too easy to become reliant on them instead of good driving skill. Remember when ABS spread to most car line and there was no statistical improvement in crash involvement?  I suspect the same may apply here to a varying degree.  I also don’t like the lack of control – I feel I’m kind of a Captain Dunsel – my driving choices are being overridden.  At slow speeds, it is damn near impossible to get the car to rotate on a snow coated road.  You can’t even get real wheelspin…Richard Daystrom’s M-5 won’t allow it.  Maybe it’s just a hybrid thing, but while it may save a life at high speed, at low speeds it is annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      And of course not all “electronic aids” are created equal.  I’ve seen MB owners (on forums) who say, “At the first sign of snow, turn off your traction control, or you will get stuck.”  Apparently in MBs quest to kill wheelspin they’ve made it impossible to rock the vehicle or spin the wheels when you need to. 

  • avatar
    Mervich

    Anywhere I go in North America, the single biggest problem with drivers of 4/all wheel drive vehicles is for some strange reason, most never take into account that their vehicle takes just as long (far) to stop as a similar 2 wheel drive vehicle on snow and ice. Bullet proof mentality.

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