Italian owned Fiat Chrysler Automobiles literally wrapped itself in the American flag yesterday with a Superbowl advertisement highlighting its Detroit manufacturing. The advertisement released February 2nd, was strong on symbolism like cowboys, cheerleaders and flags, but short on facts. Turin, Italy based Fiat S.p.A. last month completed its buy-out of Chrysler from VEBA Trust, the American and Canadian autoworkers’ union medical trust set up after Chrysler’s most recent bankruptcy in 2009.
Last week the prestigious European manufacturer announced a new name and logo for the company. Called FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the new FCA logo is to be used starting last Friday. Company CEO Sergio Marchionne made a press statement about the new structure and logo last week saying “Today we can say that we have succeeded in creating solid foundations for a global automaker with a mix of experience and know-how on a level with the best of our competitors. An international governance structure and listings will complete this vision and improve the Group’s access to global markets bringing obvious financial benefits.” Oddly the international aspect of the new corporation and new culture did not make it into the superbowl advertisement.
Auto enthusiasts first threw out the red challenge flag on Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” theme last year when it debuted noting that the company’s flagship car, the 300 is not made in the United States, but rather Brampton, Ontario Canada. History buffs will recall that although there was once talk of Canada being annexed by the United States in the 1800s, the country did indeed remain independent.
To represent the company in its most recent advertisement campaign, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chose folk music legend Bob Dylan. Dylan was at one time the pinnacle of American folk music. He was for many decades irrelevant in the music scene, and after making an advertisement for a mega-corporation, some would say has now sold out. The parallels with Chrysler could not be more obvious. Dylan replaces John Varvatos as Fiat’s buy-American spokesperson. Varvatos is fashion designer and a Detroit native that left Detroit to establish his business in New York City. In Road and Track’s December 2013 issue Varvatos explained why he chose to work only with Chrysler to create a special edition of the Canadian built 300, saying “A very prestigious European manufacturer had been pursuing me for a while when Chrysler came to me on this. Go with "made in America." I preach it like it's the gospel now."