Dodge wants dealerships to embody gearhead persona

DETROIT — It’s no secret what Dodge is about these days.

The brand spent the last eight years recasting itself as a youthful purveyor of American muscle, led by its powerful Hellcats and edgy advertising. Focusing on the high-octane realm has supercharged its base of enthusiasts and sparked an active following of millions online.

Now, brand CEO Tim Kuniskis wants to build a bridge that better connects dealership showrooms to the excitement generated by its irreverent ads, social media outreach and experiential events. The last thing Kuniskis wants is for a fan who was pulled in by Dodge’s gearhead persona to be greeted at a dealership by an unengaged salesperson who isn’t in tune with the “Brotherhood of Muscle.”

Building that consistency for customers throughout the journey is one of the key elements behind the new Power Brokers dealership network. The stores will serve as hubs for performance parts and have trained specialists in various departments who are muscle car fanatics themselves.

The program’s core philosophy stems from a lesson Kuniskis learned 30 years ago as a young salesman about differentiating oneself from the competition. A manager told Kuniskis he had to sell more than a car; he had to sell the store.

“There’s over 40 brands in the mainstream market. There’s over 300 nameplates. There’s massive overlap,” Kuniskis told Automotive News. “So if you don’t have an identity … you’re just going to keep recycling the same people that are within the brand and like the brand, and you’re never, ever, ever going to grow, and you’re never going to be able to change the positioning of the brand.”

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