Dodge Attempts to Reunite Tuner with Fiancee, Disaster Sure to Follow

Dodge has announced the winner of the "Are You Tuned Out" contest, which invited the boyfriends and girlfriends of gearheads to write a short essay explaining why their significant other was completely ignoring them. The winner was Zach Madrid of Colorado Springs, who was so tuned-out that he was unable to have a "civilized conversation" with his fiancee if there was a car on television. As the winner of the competition, Madrid gets a brand new Caliber SRT4, which is sure to drive a wedge deeper into their already delicate relationship. Full press release below:

Dodge Brand Helps Tune Up a Tuned-Out Relationship This Holiday Season

Auburn Hills, Mich., Dec 13, 2007 - Zach Madrid of Colorado Springs, Colo., has been named the winner of the Dodge brand's "Are You Tuned Out?" search for the nation's most "tuned-out" car enthusiast and vehicle tuner. Nominated by his fiancée, Tricia Champagne, Madrid represents the 63 percent of men who, according to a survey conducted by Dodge and Ipsos Public Affairs1, are "tuned in" to their cars and trucks, sometimes at the expense of their personal relationships.

In her nomination essay, Champagne said Madrid is completely "tuned-out," so much so that she has no chance of having a "civilized conversation" with him if there is any sort of car show on television. According to Champagne, Madrid has sketch books full of visions, concepts and customized versions of his favorite Dodge cars, and has memorized the exact horsepower and torque for the entire SRT lineup.

"The Dodge Caliber SRT4 is awesome. I can't believe I'm going to have a brand new one sitting in my driveway," said Madrid. "I never thought when Tricia nominated me that I would end up winning the 'Are You Tuned Out?' contest! I couldn't have asked for a better wedding present or a better fiancée!"

In the last year, vehicle customization and tuning has exploded into a $36.7 billion industry, and Americans are spending 18 billion hours tuning and maintaining their vehicles annually2. To help these tuners (and tuners-in-training) get cool rides without having to spend all of their free time and money in the garage, the Dodge brand launched a search for the most "tuned-out" car enthusiast. Of the nearly 1,000 enthusiasts who entered the contest, Madrid was named one of four finalists to win an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4 - a vehicle that comes performance-tuned straight from the factory, which means tuners can spend less time working on their car and more time with their friends and family.

"In the 'Are You Tuned Out?' contest, we were looking for people who are so obsessed with automotive performance and personalization they never leave the garage long enough to really connect with their significant others, family and friends," said Ralph Gilles, Vice President - Jeep®, Truck, Advance Interior and Component Design, Chrysler LLC. "The Dodge Caliber SRT4 is a high-performance, race-inspired vehicle that comes 'pre-tuned' straight from the factory. We hope it will help tuners like Zach live more balanced lives, because all the tuning work is already done."

While Madrid won an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4, Champagne will be awarded a Dodge prize package, which includes Dodge gear and a $100 gift card for nominating the grand prize winner. The three runners-up will each receive a Dodge prize package, which includes Dodge gear and a subscription to Mopar magazine.

"While there's no guarantee Zach won't end up right back in the garage to further personalize his Caliber SRT4, we think the vehicle's 285-horsepower and incredible acceleration will keep him and Tricia happily cruising together for a long, long time to come," said Gilles.

Tuner Roadblocks
With so many people tuned into the tuning trend, Dodge asked consumers what they considered to be the biggest roadblock to having a tuned-out ride. Cost and lack of time were identified by 41 and 34 percent of tuners respectively, while only seven percent said being in a relationship was the biggest roadblock to tuning.

Additional survey results showed:

* Putting the Grrrr in Garage - Seventeen percent of men say the garage is their favorite place to spend time at home
* Date Night vs. Drag Night - Twenty-two percent of women and 16 percent of men would rather spend an evening without their significant other rather than have to give up their vehicle for the same night
* Tuner Vision - More than one in three women (34 percent) say they are tuned in to cars and trucks

Tune In to the Are You Tuned Out Contest Details
Between Oct. 24 and Nov. 15, consumers were invited to nominate themselves, their significant other, friends or family for a chance to win an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4. During the registration process, participants were asked to submit a 250-word essay answering the questions, "Why are you or your significant other tuned-out?" and "How will winning an all-new Dodge Caliber SRT4 help you or your significant other tune back in?"

An independent panel of judges reviewed all of the entries and the four contestants who received the highest scores were named finalists. Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 10, consumers were invited to vote for their favorite tuner or tuner-in-training online at www.DodgeRUTunedOut.com. The results of the online voting were added to the judges' scores, and the tuner with the highest combined score was awarded an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4. [Source: Chrysler]