Never underestimate the power of marketing. Sure, as a manufacturer of consumer products, it is important to create high-quality items. But it is infinitely more important to market them well. You can sell a mediocre product very successfully with the help of good marketing, but you’ll never sell something successfully if you don’t market it well. Of course, marketing has also become far more sophisticated nowadays. Once upon a time, an ad said: “Buy this product because it is very effective and will make your life easier.” Today, an ad says: “Buy this product because it is the sort of product that successful and trendy people buy, so if you want to be like them, you need to be seen using this product.” Yes, ads no longer sells items, they sell lifestyles. Consider the average crossover utility vehicle (CUV) ad. Very few ads bother to tell you the specifics of a vehicle’s all-wheel-drive system, suspension or chassis construction. Instead, they show us images of young, slim, happy families doing outdoorsy stuff such as hiking, cycling and canoeing. They show us an enviable lifestyle, and tell us that we can have it too, as long as we buy a specific CUV. Obviously, very few people will end up using their CUV to do the outdoorsy stuff seen in the ad, but that’s hardly the point. Just as the treadmills we buy to lose weight will quickly become nothing more than pricey coat racks, a new CUV will in all probability never leave the tar roads, but the sales tactic will still work. The marketing men know that we all feel that we work too hard, that we all want to spend more time with our families, and that we’d all like to adopt a healthier outdoor lifestyle. So, they win us over with promises that a CUV will bring us one step closer to that ideal – they sell us idealised versions of ourselves. And it isn’t just CUVs that are sold this way. Vehicle manufacturers sell us sedans with the help of ads featuring their F1 cars and SUVs with the help of Dakar vehicles. Jeep recently decided to make use of the all-powerful Ferrari badge to sell SUVs in Europe. In a clever marketing move, the company delivered its first European SRT8 Grand Cherokees to F1 Ferrari heroes Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa (Fiat owns both Chrysler and Ferrari). The two vehicles sport a whole bunch of Ferrari-inspired design cues that include a matte black grille, a black racing stripe across the length of the SUV, a black painted dual-pane sunroof, black rims, carbon fibre mirror caps and an Italian flag painted on the bottom of the spoiler, a tribute to the Ferrari F150 Formula One car. Of course, both Grand Cherokees are also painted in Ferrari’s signature Racing Red. What else do these two Grands have that you won’t find on a regular model? Not much. Both have red inserts in their interiors and a slightly lowered suspension, but that’s about it. No changes have been made to the drivetrain. Under the bonnet sits the standard6,4-litre V8 that powers every SRT8. Interestingly, Jeep apparently has no intention of selling the Ferrari-inspired SRT to consumers. The point of the two Ferrari Grand Cherokees was purely to bath Jeeps super-fast SUV in the glory and desirability of the Ferrari brand. Any item with a Ferrari badge on it sells well, especially if it’s associated with the company’s F1 team. So why not give Alonso and Massa a pair of SUVs? With the two of them posing next to the SRT8, it is instantly cool by association. If it’s good enough for Alonso and Massa, it must surely be good enough for you and me. Press release New 2012 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT8® SUVs will sport Ferrari Red for Formula 1 stars Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa Custom-built versions of the high-performance Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 feature exclusive Rosso Corsa colored exteriors, red leather interiors and additional Ferrari looks pay tribute to the two Ferrari ‘ambassadors’. Vehicles are the first two 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 models to be delivered in Europe where the introduction of the high-performance model of the Jeep flagship SUV will start in May. Both vehicles were prepared by Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) design and engineering teams. Today, two specially prepared models of the new 2012 Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT8® – the most powerful and best handling Jeep vehicle ever – were delivered to Scuderia Ferrari Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at the Fiorano circuit in Maranello, Italy. The identically built vehicles were handed over to the two star drivers by Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations – SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. Each Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 features an aggressive exterior look with an SRT-exclusive design, which adds classic Ferrari brand styling cues and the unmistakable Rosso Corsa signature color. The iconic, seven-slot Jeep front grille is painted matte black and features custom red inserts. A race-inspired, offset black driver’s stripe with a white accent customizes the front and rear bumpers, hood, the entire surface of the roof and the rear spoiler. Additional exclusive details include a matte black painted dual-pane sunroof, Carbon fiber mirror caps and a gloss black rear light bar with red accents on the Jeep logo. To complete the unique exterior trim of the two custom-built SRT8 models, the Italian flag has been painted on the underside of the rear spoiler: a tribute to the Ferrari F150º Formula One car. Ride height has been lowered 1.5 inches and both vehicles ride on unique forged aluminium, 20-inch wheels painted black giving them an even more aggressive stance. In line with the vehicle’s custom exterior, the interior cabin is enhanced by exclusive Ferrari Red leather inserts on the seats with sculpted bolsters. Also the door trim panels, the central armrest and the instrument panel boast exclusive red leather. The leather-wrapped SRT8 steering wheel with mounted paddle shifters features red contrasting stitching. The unique instrument cluster features yellow dials which give the cabin the look of the GT cars produced in Maranello. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is powered by the all-new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 engine with Fuel Saver technology that turns off four of the eight cylinders when full power is not required to ensure increased fuel economy. Thanks to the powerful HEMI V-8 powertrain delivering 468 horsepower (344 kW) and 624 N•m of torque, the SRT8 model achieves benchmark performance of 0-100 km/h in 5 seconds, has a top speed of 257 km/h and brakes from 100-0 km/h in 35 m. “We’re excited and proud to be able to share ‘Ferrari-style’ custom-built versions of the most powerful and best handling Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 ever with two of the most talented drivers in the world,” Paretta said. “We know that both Fernando and Felipe will feel right at home in our ultimate performance SUVs that are identically built with classic Ferrari styling cues and one-of-a-kind Rosso Corsa exteriors. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 brings a combination of Jeep’s world-class capability to the road or the race track along with unparalleled luxury and refinement and advanced innovative technologies for all driving enthusiasts.” The two, uniquely customized Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 models are based on the new high-performance model of the Jeep flagship SUV set to arrive in Europe, where it will be available in Jeep dealerships starting in May. About SRT The Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand develops the high performance vehicles of the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® lineup. All SRT-badged models share the five hallmarks of the SRT brand: awe-inspiring powertrains, functional, performance-oriented styling, world-class ride and handling, benchmark braking and race-inspired interior appointments.