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Chrysler scraps paper owner’s manuals, shifts to DVDs

Mon, 21 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Chrysler Group is replacing its traditional owner’s manuals with DVDs and an abridged printed guide in an effort to reduce costs and save 930 tons of paper annually.

Chrysler will see “substantial savings” from the shift away from paper manuals, which often had more than 500 pages, spokesman Bryan Zvibleman said. He declined to say how much will be saved by the change, which is taking effect with 2010 models.

The searchable DVDs, designed for viewing at home or on some vehicles’ entertainment systems, each contain an owner’s manual, warranty information, direction for navigation and entertainment systems and a guide for 24-hour towing assistance. They also provide video tutorials for some instructions, such as folding down a Jeep Wrangler’s soft top. Information from the DVDs will also appear on Chrysler’s brand Web sites.

The abbreviated printed guides, designed to be kept in the vehicle, will typically have 60 to 80 pages, the automaker said. They will provide instructions for dealing with emergency issues, such as flat tires, dead batteries or flashing warning lights. The guides also give instructions for basic operations of vehicle features such as air conditioning, windshield wipers and navigation systems.

Consumers may still receive a full printed owner’s manual on request.

Chrysler had been considering the change for more than a year, said Al Motta, head of service operations. The automaker conducted a consumer study, solicited input through an online forum and held four focus sessions in Chicago to help determine what information to include in the printed version.

Finally, Chrysler mailed 500 sample DVDs and printed guides to customers who had bought 2009 Wranglers and sought feedback. The reaction was mostly positive, Motta said, especially to features such as the soft-top video tutorials.

By Chrissie Thompson- Automotive News