DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- It turns out the famous "Imported from Detroit" Super Bowl commercial of 2011 was just one step in Chrysler's embrace of its hometown. In November 2011, Chrysler appointed as its brand CEO a living symbol of Detroit, a 44-year-old Lebanese American named Saad Chehab, whose family emigrated from Beirut to Detroit when he was a teenager. While attending the University of Detroit, where he earned a degree in architecture, he hung out at the Shelter nightclub, where Eminem
|Chrysler CEO Saad Chehab|
Before joining Chrysler in 2009, Chehab spent 10 years at Ford ( F), where he was director of creative services. One day he ran into Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC. "We talked about life and heritage and watches and music," Chehab said. "You find yourself seduced by everything he says." Soon afterwards, Chehab was at Chrysler. While the image is important, Chehab said, "at the end of the day, we are what we make. "Our company has become a lot more passionate about the things we make," he said. "It comes from the top and ricochets down." Meanwhile, in an ad campaign unveiled last week just as baseball season began, GM ( GM) also took a Detroit tact, as Detroit Tigers stars Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder celebrated Chevrolet. In one ad, Fielder sings a familiar seven-word song: "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple and Chevrolet," a link to the 1974 ad campaign that defines Chevrolet as an American icon. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/tedreednc.