Public-facing blog aids in Chrysler comeback

AUBURN HILLS, MI: Wanting to prove that "The New Chrysler" actually stands for something more than a tagline, the recently re-launched automaker debuted its public-facing blog called the "Voices of Chrysler."

AUBURN HILLS, MI: Wanting to prove that "The New Chrysler" actually stands for something more than a tagline, the recently re-launched automaker debuted its public-facing blog called the "Voices of Chrysler."

The blog, http://blog.chryslerllc.com, and the new privately owned Chrysler company were launched on August 6, the same day Cerberus Capital Management, Chrysler's new owners, announced that Robert Nardelli, ex-Home Depot CEO, would become chairman and CEO. The announcement helped the blog get off to a running start by generating a fair amount of activity.

"We're a new company, and this is a symbol of that," said Allan Nahajewski, senior manager, Chrysler internal and electronic communications. "When you say you're a new company, people want to see evidence of that."

Jason Vines, VP of communications at Chrysler, used the blog to respond to those questioning the hiring of Nardelli.

"A fresh set of eyes from outside the industry can find new and better ways of doing things," he wrote in his post. "Our owners at Cerberus think Bob's incredible track record in successfully running the many businesses he did, at General Electric and on the retail side of Home Depot, can speed up the recovery of The New Chrysler."

The company noted that it would not be sanitizing any of the comments submitted by consumers, which was evident by some of the postings.

"I cannot believe that Robert Nardelli has been appointed CEO..... after his stint at Home Depot where his arrogance and poor people management led to poor financial performance and got him properly fired," read one of the early comments.

Ed Garsten, manager of electronic communications at Chrysler, said creating this type of direct communication with consumers, as well as employees, was one of the "key motives" behind launching the blog.

Jackie Headapohl, editor of the blog, said postings will be coming from all areas, including "our leadership, production employees, customers, engineers, and our enthusiasts - anyone who has a connection with Chrysler."

Chrysler previously launched a blog, called Firehouse, in 2005, which could only be read by registered journalists.

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