Superbowl Car Commercials, Part 1: Imported from Detroit

This was one of the better commercials put together for the Superbowl.

Its 2 minutes long, features Eminem, and is probably the first time that advertising something has come from Detroit has been tried in 30 years.

But I have one, major, issue with it.

The car is a piece of crap. A total, utter, piece of crap.

It is the new Chrysler 200C. Which is not new at all. It is a warmed-over Chrysler Sebring, which was notable only for being worst-in-class at just about everything. It was the car which was sold with "buy one, get one free!" discounts.

With the 200C, Chrysler decided that they did not have the money to really redo the Sebring. So they changed most body panels, upgraded the interior, and dropped in their new v6 as an option. The greenhouse (top 1/2 of the car), chassis, and most other major components remained the same.

If you notice in the commercial they barely ever show the car in direct light. And for good reason. In comparison, the Kia Optima against it which competes was featured prominently in their rather cool commercial. This is because the Optima is better looking, better value, better to drive, and does not come standard with shoddy construction (Chrysler just caught a bunch more UAW line workers smoking pot on the job - god knows if they could be fired because of UAW rules, the last bunch were not).

Ok, I am a car guy, and so I care about the car itself far more than most. But the issue with the commercial is not just "the car is bad." The ad claims that Chrysler is "Imported from Detroit"- their new slogan. The whole thing is a rallying cry for Detroit: dammit we can still build some of the best classy luxury cars in the world even after going "to hell and back" - though I am really not sure about the "back" part. The whole premise, the idea that Detroit is going to make it, that we as Americans should buy in to support Detroit, to fight, to be proud of Motor City, is predicated on the fact that the car, the car itself, is a world-class product. Like Eminem, it might be a diamond in the rough, it might not be for everyone, but it is good, and it is American.

And the thing is, it is not good. It is a total piece of crap. When you go to test drive the new 200C which Eminem has told you so much about, you realize that it is competitive with the Toyota Camry, from 1999. And then you look at the hard plastic interior, panel gaps, outdated nav/infotainment system, and heaven forbid if you tried the 4 banger rather than the new Pentastar V6, because it will sound like something is slowly dying in the engine bay.

And here is why it matters, even though the commercial was undeniably cool, and as a gut reaction, I liked it, if Detroit (and Chrysler specifically) does not build good cars, if it builds shitty cars, if the 200C, 300C, Avenger, Caliber, Patriot, Compass, Nitro, and Dakota are really pathetic cars (which they are), then the whole thing is just sad. It is not "look what we have been through and what we can still do" it is "gee, thats kind of depressing." And then the whole thing falls apart.

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