Crowdfund your next car purchase

Can a crowdfunding scheme improve a car company's brand loyalty with Millennials?

It's well established that young people, at least in the United States, aren't buying cars like they used to . For now, buying cars just isn't a priority for the cash-strapped Millennials. That means the auto industry must find innovative ways to attract the smaller pool of young car buyers and build brand loyalty with a generation that sticks with brands it gets used to.

Facing this uphill battle, Chrysler Group is looking to attract young new customers to the 2013 Dodge Dart through social media and crowdfunding.

That's right, crowdfund your new car purchase.

The Dodge Dart Registry works like a wedding registry -- a couple creates a registry of gifts it would like wedding guests to buy as wedding presents -- but for a car. It works like this: first, customize the car (ranging in price from $15,995 to $30,000 with all the added features); then, make your pitch to friends, family, and the Internet using social media and any other creative web-based tools you can think of; and, if you're lucky "dad sponsors the engine for your birthday, grandma sponsors the rims for graduation," a Dodge ad hypothesizes, and others help fund the rest of the parts of your car. You have a maximum of 90 days to reach the goal.

So how well is this crowdfunding stunt working? The site has been live since January and so far it looks like a lot of people want the car but few want to help them make it a reality. There are more than 6,000 registries consisting of 520,000 parts that need funding and only 1,330 parts that have been funded, as of the writing of this post. And, as far as I can tell, only one car has been completely funded and only four cars have reached more than 25 percent of their funding goal. So is this a complete marketing failure? Maybe not, as Forbes points out:

One of [Dodge's] challenges is just getting on the radar of potential buyers.

The way the Dodge Dart Registry ties in social media could prove helpful in that regard. As would-be car buyers post updates on their fundraising, they’ll be helping to boost awareness of the compact sedan.

Having people customize a Dart when signing up for the registry is also smart. All these prospects familiarize themselves with the car—right down to its three fuel-efficient engine choices.

Sure, absence makes the heart grow fonder. But will fondness turn into car sales?

[Via Discovery News]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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