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Rappin' about cars

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First 50 cent, now Snoop Dog wants one too.

Here is Snoop Dogg's voicemail message to Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche and a translation by Bushman, who hosts a radio show weekdays from 6-10 p.m. on Detroit hip-hop station WJLB.
SNOOP: "Yo, what up? This is big Snoop Dogg, trying to put these new legs down for this new 300C. What I gotta' do to get that brand new 300 up outta' you? Get back in contact with my nephew so you can make it happen, then it's official like a referee's whistle. If you want this car to blow, give it to me. This is Snoop Dogg. Preach!"
BUSHMAN: "Hello, Dr. Zetsche. How are you? My name is Snoop Dogg, and I'm trying to get one of Chrysler's new 300C sedans. What would I have to do to get a 300C from you without paying? Please contact my manager so that we can try to come to an agreement on the 300C, and I could officially endorse the car for you. If you would like the 300C to get the attention it merits, you would be well served by giving me one. My name is Snoop Dogg. Peace be with you."

When Chrysler executives first envisioned the target audience for its new flagship passenger sedan — the 300C — gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg probably didn’t leap to mind.

But last week, the language-twisting Los Angeles hip hopper left a voicemail message for Dieter Zetsche, CEO of DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group, asking for one of the hot-selling sedans.

“What I gotta’ do to get that brand new 300 up outta’ you?,” he said to Zetsche, 51, whose first language is German. He then suggested Zetsche should: “Get back in contact with my nephew so he can make it happen, then it’s official like a referee with a whistle.”

Chrysler officials, while not entirely sure how to interpret the request, are following up with Snoop to see if they can put him in a car. But at a minimum, they say, the interest from Snoop and 50 Cent, another chart-topping rapper, underscores the broad appeal of the new 300, a regal rear-wheel-drive sedan that is attracting luxury buyers despite a $23,000 to $35,000 base price.

“We’ve seen SUVs that have gotten the attention of the hip-hop crowd, but not a passenger car,” said Chrysler spokesman Jason Vines.

Snoop Dogg’s management could not be reached for comment.

Since dealers started taking deliveries in March, the 300 has been one of the strongest sellers out of the gate for Chrysler in years, producing waiting lists nationwide and spurring customers to sometimes pay thousands of dollars over sticker price.

That’s good news for Chrysler, which is trying to regain market share lost to Asian rivals in the passenger car segment.

In his message to Zetsche, Snoop, 32, promised to even add to the considerable buzz surrounding the 300.

“If you want this car to blow, give it to me,” he said.

Zetsche first referenced the message from, as he put it, “Snoopy Doggy Dogg,” after a speech last Tuesday at the Executives’ Club of Chicago.

Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, left the voicemail for Zetsche at DaimlerChrysler’s Los Angeles business center.

The multi-platinum selling rap artist has crossed over into movies and TV commercials despite his oft-professed love of marijuana and occasional legal entanglements. He scored major roles in the recent film “Starsky & Hutch” and “Soul Plane,” a summer comedy.

Chrysler should consider the boost Snoop Dogg could bring to the brand if the two partnered, said Wes Brown, a partner at Iceology, a marketing and consulting firm in Los Angeles.

“They’d be crazy not to take advantage of someone as trend-setting and popular as Snoop Dogg,” he said. Besides, Snoop has done a lot to clean up his image in recent years, from appearing on “Sesame Street” to hosting “Saturday Night Live,” he said.

Chrysler has accommodated other celebrity orders through the years, including a Dodge Viper for Jay Leno, a Plymouth Voyager minivan for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and three PT Cruisers for Cher.

Snoop Dogg is no different, Vines said.

“We are creating buzz, and you put it in the hands of the people who can give you exposure,” Vines said. “I don’t remember any meetings leading up to the launch of the 300 where we said: ‘We’ve got to get Snoop Dogg.’ ”

But, he said, “I’m not going to scoff at anybody who likes our products.”
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