‘Crowdfunding is Dodge’s new way to sell cars

The novel idea of ‘crowdfunding’ by the Chrysler Group lays out details in purchasing a 2013 Dodge Dart. The concept works this way: like a gift registry for a baby shower or a wedding, the registry lists car parts, ranging from the inexpensive items like antennae and mirrors to pricey features such as heated seats, rims or engines, for a buyer’s family, friends and even complete strangers. This makes it a perfect option to send birthday, graduation, holiday, wedding or other regards.

In this registry, the website of the Dodge Dart Registry (learn more at Reedman Dodge) keeps the records updated as family, friends, or even complete strangers ‘sponsor’ various parts and accessories of the car. Any person who is over 18 years of age can sign up, configure a Dart car to their heart’s content, and subsequently launch ‘crowdfunding’ online to raise the funds needed to make the purchase.

The hopeful Dart owners are also encouraged to use their social media platforms to spread the news. They can also appeal to their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter to contribute, as well as publicly express gratitude after doing so.

Major Ingenuity for Chrysler

This latest pitch is an effective tool for marketing and winning over the tech-savvy millenials that the Chrysler Group intends to win over. The scheme is ideally well matched for most young adults who are often cash-strapped, but can depend on family and friends for help.

However, there is still fine print and notable drawbacks on this brilliant plan. Some nine per cent of the funds raised online through the Dodge Dart Registry website will be deducted for a variety of fees.

Some people see it as quite unlike the usual baby shower or a wedding registry, saying that the deductions are a big turn-off for giving the money online. Though the website discloses where the fees go in the frequently asked questions section and in the terms of agreement, there is still a risk that many people, especially the inattentive or rash ones, might not realise at first or second reading. The fees may then come out as a huge surprise that bites in the rear end.

Moreover, the accounts expire at either 30, 60, or 90 days at the account holder’s option. The duration of the account cannot last more than 90 days.

At the end of the period of registry, the participants are mailed with a check. They can then spend the money however they desire. This means that they can take the money to a dealership and use it to buy their brand-new Dodge Dart, or not buy the vehicle at all. This becomes a risk, because by the time the account has expired, the prospective buyer may decide to spend the money on other things and render null the efforts of those who have raised the funds for the car.

Actual sales, however, have been far from promising and are rather disappointing. The Dodge Dart, a newcomer in the industry, has to compete with leaders like the Honda Civic which commands strong loyalty.