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Daily Pulse

November car sales helped by product placement

Joel Patterson Dec 1, 2011

The pulse is beating faster today on news that Americans finally decided to splurge on a new car last month.

GM and Nissan reported impressive year-over-year increases in November, selling everything from compacts to full-size trucks, but Chrysler was the big winner. The company saw a 45 percent jump in sales when compared to November of 2010. The smallest of Detroit’s Big Three benefitted from strong demand for its 200- and 300-model sedans, but its Jeep division forged the trail by having its best November since 2003.

Why Jeep? Better gas mileage? Increased horsepower? Improved reliability? Maybe Americans are turning back to the rugged all-American archetype embodied by the great grandchild of the olive drab Willys Jeeps that Patton rode through Europe in during WWII? Those would be great reasons.

But Jeep is betting it had something to do with product placement. Namely, its Wrangler’s starring role in the online first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the bestselling videogame of all time (moving 6.5 million games to the tune of $400 million on its opening day alone), played nightly by seven million people.

Jeep isn’t looking any gift horses in their mouths. The company has embraced the success of its partnership with Call of Duty franchise, and the proof is on Jeep dealers’ lots right now in the form of the $37,000 Wrangler Call of Duty: MW3 Special Edition. Lifted and sporting semi-gloss black rims, a bumper-mounted winch and Modern Warfare 3 logos, it’s more than equipped for what most of us do with our cars, namely sit in rush-hour traffic — an activity Jeep’s marketing team calls “your day-to-day campaigns.”

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