February 26, 2013

News & Features

Let others buy the Dodge Dart for you on registry

New York Times News Service

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The 2013 Dodge Dart has 130 options to choose on the Dart Registry. (Chrysler)

Have you ever bought a gift on your friend's wedding registry and wondered, "Why can't I do this for me, for nonwedding things?" If you're in the market for a 2013 Dodge Dart, you can, with the Dodge Dart Registry. If that sounds like a crowd-funding exercise, it is, but one for new cars instead of startups and hipster rock bands.

Aimed at young buyers, the Dodge Dart Registry allows potential Dart owners to solicit donations toward the purchase of a new car. That's right, you can get other people to buy the car for you.

Registry lowdown
    The Dart Registry was created by Dodge in partnership with Rocket- Hub, a crowd-funding platform. Donations are kept in a U.S. bank holding account. Registry recipients sign up for accounts that have terms of one to 90 days; at the end of the term, funds can be collected by secure check. Contributions can range from $100 to $30,000. A 5 percent crowd-funding commission fee and a 4 percent payment processing fee will be subtracted from the total amount raised. For more details, visit dodge dartregistry.com.


Setting up a registry is simple. First, you create a profile on the registry. Then you customize the 2013 Dodge Dart of your dreams. Next, you wait for the cash to start flowing in like the roaring waters of Niagara Falls.

Your benefactors pick one of 130 possible options, pay for it and leave the rest of the car to other magnanimous people.

For example, a registrant named Michael, from Toledo, Ohio, says he needs a car more practical than his beloved Pontiac Trans Am to drive to school and work. So he created a sporty orange Dart online and has solicited $103 to pay for a sliding armrest and a parking brake lever. Last we checked, he still needed an engine and wheels and the like, but Michael still has 76 days to raise money for the remaining 69 fundable parts.

Some are using the registry for charity. The Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at the University of Southern California is building an $18,000, slate-gray Dart to donate to the Meals On Wheels West charity. The fraternity had raised $1,327 over two weeks, but still has a ways to go.

Social media plays heavily into the registry. Dodge is encouraging participants to connect their registry profiles to Facebook and Twitter.

This has two purposes: It helps would-be Dart owners attract donations, and it helps Dodge turn the Dart into a social-media presence and, the brand hopes, a cultural phenomenon of sorts.

From the young buyer's perspective, the effectiveness of appealing to many people for car-buying money remains unclear. The registry may relieve some of the pressure on parents inured to the traditional single-source approach to automotive funding, but will a departure from focused begging leave these automotive dreamers without wheels?

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