BuzzRocket's Blog


Dodge Avenger Ride & Drive

As many of you know, I was in New York last week to learn more about the 2011 Avenger, meet the amazing team behind it and drive the sporty evolution of Dodge’s peppy mid-size car. After meeting with Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles and hearing the genuine passion and excitement in his voice when he discussed the Avenger, I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel.

I started off in the Lux model 4 cylinder, which had a lot of personality and was so quiet! I couldn’t get over how quiet it was. We drove out of the city (didn’t hit anyone!!!) and off to the rolling hills of Bedford, New York. The Avenger handled well and bounced just a bit from the extremely windy weather.

Of course I was on the ride with Kelly Ryan O’Brien and we were stereotypically into all the features that would appeal to a woman: mirrors, radio, finishes and nav. All were – as we fondly put it – DOPE!

I loved all the features, like satellite radio and bluetooth, which could all be controlled from the touch screen display and the steering wheel – good feature when Kelly started listening to some lame top 40 music. Too bad for the Dodge representative riding with us when we happened upon some 90s station playing Another Bad Creation. We blared Iesha out loud, singing it at the top of our lungs. Guess that was a good thing: we obviously felt completely at home in the Avenger.

On the way back, we took the V6, which drove oh so nicely and with 200 more lbs. under the hood, barely danced at all in the wind. I’m glad we started with the 4 cylinder: as fun as it was, it would have been hard to downgrade.

The interiors on both cars were all black, which is new to the 2011 line. I loved the French seam stitching. We were told the hard surfaces had been reengineered to be softer, like a pebble – love that comparison.

I really enjoyed the Avenger and was so thrilled to sitting in and driving an output of “New Detroit.” You can definitely feel the energy in the performance of this vehicle and see it in the sleeker design. Bravo to Gilles and his team. I’m definitely picking up what you’re putting down.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, We are disclosing that our time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for our participation in the Dodge Avenger Ride & Drive. Although we have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain our own.

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Shut up and drive!

Just back from the Dodge Avenger Ride & Drive (more on that later). Sorry to the Dodge marketing guy, who was trapped for an hour and a half in the car with Kelly Ryan O’Brien and me. Kelly and I had so much fun in that car, felt immediately at home and took over the Avenger: playing the radio full blast (to brilliant songs like Iesha by Another Bad Creation), checking out the mirrors and non-stop talking (“Girl Noise” as Kelly’s husband calls it). Needless to say, for everyone involved, this was the theme song of the day.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, We are disclosing that our time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for our participation in the Dodge Avenger Ride & Drive. Although we have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain our own.


New Avenger. New Attitude.

Gretchen Schneider, Ralph Gilles and Kelly Ryan OBrien

I’ve written a lot about Detroit and its rebranding efforts, which are being most overtly seen and heard from the auto industry. It’s an exciting time in “New” Detroit. I had the honor of sitting down with Dodge Brand CEO Ralph Gilles today at the New York International Auto Show to discuss the revamped Avenger coming out of a revamped Dodge from a revamped Detroit.

“Why can’t value be cool at the same time?” Gilles asks. And the new Avenger is both. Starting at $19,245, the sporty four door has a sleeker design, beefier 18″ aluminum wheels, V6 and boasts a more confident look, reflecting the rising confidence of the Motor City.

“Detroit’s probably known for trucks and large SUVs and there’s been a resurgence in the car world,” Gilles explains. Adding that the new Avenger is like “having your cake and eat it, too. When I’m talking about a 29 mile per gallon car with 283 horsepower. Wow is that possible? Yes it is.”

There is a genuine excitement when Gilles discusses the “rebranding” and new voice of the auto industry in Detroit.

“As we go forward, I want Detroit and the American auto makers to be known for [power and efficiency]. Let’s not ever give up on the fun of it, but let’s give you the efficiency you’re looking for and that flexibility. So that rebranding to me is don’t just misunderstand us as just doing trucks. We do a lot of other things.”

And Detroit is pumping out more than just bolder cars. The flood of new talent from abroad and the coasts combined with the existing pool of creatives is making the city a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship. “There’s an attitude of excellence,” Gilles says. “There’s a creative class that’s always been there and we’ve kind of been overlooked and it’s starting to come through in the products we dot: the art, the music.

“There’s a budding creative class that just needed to be discovered. We’re starting to get a lot of young people interested in Detroit again. We’re hiring. So that’s intoxicating to watch.”

It is indeed. When we told Gilles we were driving the new Avenger tomorrow, he winced and said, “I’m jealous.” I love that passion and cannot wait to test out the result of it.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, We are disclosing that our time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for our participation in the Dodge Avenger Ride & Drive. Although we have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain our own.


Dodge Avenger

Today Kelly Ryan O’Brien and I will be introduced to the 2012 Dodge Avenger R/T, which will make its debut at the New York International Auto Show on Friday. The design looks a lot sleeker than its predecessor . I’m very excited to take a spin around the city in the new Avenger, and to meet with Dodge Brand CEO Ralph Gilles to learn more about the design and marketing of the updated addition to the Dodge family … and some more about “New” Detroit 😉

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, We are disclosing that our time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for our participation in the Dodge Avenger Ride & Drive. Although we have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain our own.


Imported From Detroit

It’s no secret I have a soft spot for the Motor City. The romance began as a child, when my grandparents, who lived in neighboring Toledo, would take my brother and me to Detroit for the day, to see the museums, visit the big city. As I got older, crushes on a couple of boys and countless concerts kept me coming back to a city that seemed to be disappearing with each visit. Until now.

I think we all felt the thunder when that amazing Chrysler 200 ad debuted during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Say what you want about Detroit, it’s pretty tough not to feel a little pride when you see that ad with those streets, the car, Eminem … hear phrases like “This is the Motor City. And this is what we do.”

And for once, the auto industry is again making it an exciting time in Detroit. Perhaps on the brink of a renaissance? As pointed out in a recent AdAge article (Meet the ‘New’ Motor City), with the revival of the auto industry, Detroit is seeing many talent imports adding a unique, fresh perspective to the marketing and design of not only the vehicles that its producing, but the actual city itself. These folks are working with many Detroit natives to revitalize the city through very innovative marketing campaigns. It’s becoming a hot bed for creativity. And it’s incredibly exciting to watch.

I leave for New York in the morning for an exclusive sneak peek at Dodge’s latest “imports.” I’m very excited to see what’s in store from them and learn more about the marketing and branding efforts they have underway. Stay tuned. More to come.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, We are disclosing that our time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for our participation in the Dodge Avenger Ride & Drive. Although we have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain our own.



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