Dodge 'Are You Tuned Out?' narrows to lucky Foursome

By Joel Arellano | December 05, 2007
Auburn Hills, Mich., Nov 29, 2007 - Four finalists have been named in the Dodge brand’s “Are You Tuned Out?” search for the nation’s most “tuned out” car enthusiasts and vehicle tuners. With Americans spending more than 18 billion hours tuning and maintaining their vehicles annually1, the finalists represent the millions of people who are so “tuned in” to tricking out their rides that they have “tuned out” their friends and family. In the last year, vehicle customization and tuning has exploded into a $36.7 billion industry, and everyone from “The Fast and the Furious” crowd to “soccer moms” and “boomer tuners” are personalizing their minivans, SUVs and family cars. 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 952 tuners and enthusiasts who entered the contest, the following four finalists were selected for the chance to win an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4: * Anthony Baroni of Brentwood, Calif. – According to his wife Tiffany, Baroni is a “huge car nut.” He spends countless hours researching cars online, in magazines and on TV, and is obsessed with the Dodge Caliber SRT4. He is so tuned in to tuning that he has even tried to teach his 3-year-old son to say, “Mommy, daddy needs a new Dodge.” * Zach Madrid of Colorado Springs, Colo. – Not only is Madrid “completely tuned out … he’s a Mopar freak,” according to his fiancé Tricia Champagne. He has a passion for cars and customizing, and has a sketch book full of visions, concepts and customized versions of his favorite cars. * Paul Martins of Canton, Mass. – According to Brenda Posipanko, she’s lucky. She has a wonderful boyfriend who is faithful and loyal; the only problem is she never sees him. In addition to filling her dining room with a “gazillion assorted car parts,” Martins spends all of his free time under the hood of his project car. * David Mayo of Philadelphia, Pa. – Mayo spends more time with his car than any member of his family. He’s so tuned out his family told him that cars are the reason he’s not married. He’s addicted to tuning and admits that his current car is killing his social life. If there’s a rehab clinic for tuning, Mayo is the first to confess that he needs help. Now, it’s up to the online voters to tune in. Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 10, the public is invited to go online at to vote for its favorite “tuned out” finalist. The results of the online voting will be combined with the judges’ scores, and the tuner with the highest combined score will be awarded an all-new 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4. The individual who nominated the grand prize winner will receive a Dodge prize package, which includes Dodge gear and a $100 gift card. The three runners-up will each receive a Dodge prize package, which includes Dodge gear and a subscription to Mopar magazine. “The four finalists in the ‘Are You Tuned Out’ contest represent the millions of gearheads who live, breathe and dream about vehicles everyday,” said Ralph Gilles, Vice President — Jeep®, Truck, Advance Interior and Component Design, Chrysler LLC. “With the holiday season right around the corner, we’re going to award one lucky tuner a Dodge Caliber SRT4, a vehicle that comes ‘performance tuned’ straight from the factory, so they can spend less time in the garage working on their vehicle and more time with their friends and family.” Tuner Roadblocks With so many people tuned into the tuning trend, Dodge launched a national survey2 and 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 as being the biggest challenge to getting tuned-out vehicles ready for the road. 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 * Tuner Vision – More than half of all men (63 percent) and more than one in three women (34 percent) say they are tuned in to cars and trucks * 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 Tune In to the Are You Tuned Out Contest 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. About the 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4 The 2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is for the enthusiast who wants the all-around performance of a true “tuner car” right from the manufacturer. Powered by a turbocharged engine producing 285 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque, the Dodge Caliber SRT4 has 70 more horsepower than the original SRT. Priced at $22,995, which includes $560 destination, and a 0 – 60 mph acceleration in less than six seconds, the Dodge Caliber SRT4 once again delivers the SRT mission of benchmark performance at the lowest price. 1 Ipsos Public Affairs arrived at the total numbers of 18 billion hours American adults maintain their vehicles per year by taking the following steps. First, we asked the amount of time spent each week maintaining your vehicle per week. That number is multiplied by 52 for each respondent to get a number of maintenance hours per year. The mean number of hours per year is 84. The U.S. Census Bureau's annual Current Population Survey for 2006 states that there are approximately 218,250,800 adults. Multiplying 84 hours per year times 218,250,800 gets us the number of 18,333,067,200. 2 The survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Dodge brand. These results are based on 1,003 telephone interviews with adults 18 years of age and older from across the United States. Interviews were conducted between October 9th and October 11th, 2007. The final data are statistically weighted to reflect the regional population distribution of the US. Surveys were completed in English and in Spanish. With a sample of 1,000, one can say with 95% certainty that the overall results are within ±3.1 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire population of the United States been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger for sub-groupings of the survey population. Press release via Chrysler/Dodge