Chrysler's VP of Public Relations, Jason Vines tossed a grenade in the direction of a certain other automotive blog today in a post over at The Firehouse, Chrysler's media-only blog. Earlier today, Edmunds Inside Line quoted Vines as saying Dodge has yet to make a decision regarding the future of the company's Challenger concept — despite rumors on several SRT and Challenger enthusiast boards that the project was already underway. AutoBlog called Vines' comments a "questionable PR move." Uh oh. Fire in the hole!:
"Autoblog called it a "questionable PR move" on my part to tell Inside Line that we had not officially given a green light to the Challenger. What gives? A reporter asks a question, I tell the truth and that is questionable? We are doing our due diligence on the business case for the car as we speak. That due diligence includes reaching out to potential supplier partners to help us build the business case. Remember this puppy is still on the auto show circuit. Yes, the reviews are great, but we aren't just in the biz for great reviews. We need to make dough on our cars so that we can throw the profits back into product development. We are encouraged by the rabid nature of the internet chat about the car. That is one reason Challenger has been given a fast track status for go or no-go. We won't go into or come out of this study naked. Stay tuned. "
That was a post, by Vines, on Chrysler's press blog, TheFirehouse.biz. But looking past the difference of opinion, what's most important about this little tete-a-tete in the blogosphere is that it's likely the first time a PR chief at one of the Big Three is acknowledging a blogger's opinion on the same platform as as he would traditional media. It's a big deal because it means Chrysler's treating the blogosphere as just another arm of the media — a hairy, spastic and sunburnt arm, but an arm nonetheless. Maybe Vines' policy of inclusivity will send a message to other automakers that they need not fear the dark side, and maybe reinforce to the rest of us that we've got to hold up our end of the bargain. If just to balance all the gossip mongering and off-color jokes.
One More Time—-Not Yet (media only) [thefirehouse.biz]
Dodge insists Challenger does not yet have green light [AutoBlog]
100,000 Camaros a year? [AutoBlog]