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Published: 5/17/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Local dealer displaying Wrangler with star power

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Rock star Lenny Kravitz sits on the hood of the silver 2011 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited that was rented from the Monroe Dodge Superstore for a series of new Jeep commercials. Rock star Lenny Kravitz sits on the hood of the silver 2011 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited that was rented from the Monroe Dodge Superstore for a series of new Jeep commercials.
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MONROE — Most new vehicles come with options, maybe even a rebate, but a new Wrangler sitting on a dealer lot in Monroe has a musical star-studded resume.

The silver 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited parked in the new car lot at Monroe Dodge Superstore spent much of February on loan in Louisiana where it starred in a series of new Jeep commercials, appeared in a music video, and was driven by rock star Lenny Kravitz.

The Jeep commercials featuring the Sahara and Kravitz made their debut on television this weekend. They show the Grammy-winning rocker, who has owned a Wrangler for 16 years, sitting on the vehicle’s hood and then putting the $38,000 Sahara through its paces across what appears to be a mud-soaked bayou. The commercials’ sound track is “Rock Star City Life,” a debut track from Mr. Kravitz’s upcoming album, Black and White America.

Ralph Mahalak, Jr., owner of Monroe Dodge Superstore, said his dealership was contacted this year by a production company that specifically wanted a 2011 silver-colored Sahara Unlimited with leather seats and a chrome package for a video shoot.

“At the time [early in the model year], we had the only one like that in the country. That’s why they rented it from us to shoot all their spots in the new video,” Mr. Mahalak said. The vehicle was transported by trailer to Louisiana and returned to the dealership in March. The Jeep had “less than 100 miles on it,” he said.

Kravitz, 46, did not autograph the Wrangler, which was still for sale at the Monroe dealership Monday.

“We would disclose to any buyer what the vehicle’s history is,” Mr. Mahalak said. “It looks pretty good going through the mud, and he looks good sitting on the hood.”

Mr. Kravitz said in a statement from Chrysler that he has been driving his Toledo-made Wrangler as his personal vehicle for 16 years, “and I refuse to get rid of it — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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