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Chrysler Sues Over “Imported from Detroit” Tagline

Federal suit claims merchandiser using line without approval.

by on Mar.17, 2011

Chrysler has revised the "Imported from Detroit" logo and added new merchandise.

Chrysler is asking a federal court to block a Motown clothing distributor from using “Imported from Detroit” tagline the automaker introduced as part of its widely-discussed commercial presence in the Super Bowl.

The lawsuit claims Moda Group LLC, which operates the Pure Detroit website, has been using the “Imported from Detroit” line to merchandise its goods without Chrysler’s permission.

The tagline wrapped up an unusual – and hugely expensive — 2-minute commercial starring rapper Eminem.  Chrysler has since made the line its new theme, and has even begun marketing an array of its own merchandise billed as “Imported from Detroit.”

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Moda’s owners, Kevin Borsay and Shawn Santo, both from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe, were named as defendants.  But their spokesman said they had “no comment at this time,” adding, “We’ll be in touch.”

Chrysler’s commercial was ostensibly built around the launch of the new 200 model, but many analysts saw it more as a way of reintroducing the brand, which was nearly lost during the company’s 2009 bankruptcy.