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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Caliber Development Opportunities

My 24 year-old daughter drives a 2004 Mazda 3s 5-door hatchback, and I believe that car will be the prime competitor to Caliber. She would not even look at a picture of the Caliber. Many of her friends would react in the same manner.

One problem that Dodge must overcome, is that her peer group perceives Japanese cars as having superior reliability, much better resale value, and a certain "coolness" factor, or whatever word the young crowd uses these days for a product that is "in." Detroit cars are perceived to be "junk." Whether that is true or not, perception is reality, so this will take time to fix. Please don't sell a car that is not as reliable as its Japanese peer group. However, I am encouraged because Chrysler did successfully achieve "coolness" with the 300C, so the goal is not impossible to reach.

If I were in charge of further development on the Caliber, I'd focus on two easy opportunities to differentiate Caliber from the Mazda 3s:

1. Most young people now have their music on an i-Pod. Caliber does have an i-Pod holder, but a much better solution would be to offer a radio that loses the CD player, but adds a color display that simply repeats the display on i-Pod. Put the i-Pod controls on the steering wheel. For most young people, CDs are obsolete. If you don't do this, the aftermarket certainly will.

2. How about a roof rack? Mazda still doesn't have one and these young people need to haul their toys: Bicycles, Skis, Snowboards, Surfboards, etc. Hauling them inside uses up room and is unsafe in case of a collision. You could easily team up with Yakima or Thule to do the add-ons.

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