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CEO: Chrysler is mainstream, not boring

by David Zatz on

Those hoping for a more upscale Chrysler brand, despite statements by a prior brand CEO and a low-priced midsized car, may be in for a disappointment. The brand will remain mainstream, according to current Chrysler brand CEO Al Gardner, who pointed out that it started that way in 1924.

Al Gardner, Chrysler CEO

Mr. Gardner told Allpar at the New York Auto Show, in an interview posted today,

The original brand set up by Walter P. Chrysler was, very simply, a mainstream brand built on design, craftsmanship, technology, performance, and value.

We have done this wonderful up-and-down cycle through near premium, premium, back to mainstream. And every time we come back to mainstream and invest in the brand from product and marketing it does very well…

To me, it’s always been about when you invest and you put the product and you genuinely do what you’re supposed to do, I mean look at 2005 and 2006, we’d sell 800,000 units a year. And it was a PT Cruiser with a Town & Country, with a Pacifica sitting next to it and an Aspen and a full line of vehicles and they sold in big numbers. That’s what this brand is supposed to be, and that’s what effectively we went to in 2009.

Imported from Detroit-black

“Imported from Detroit” was a return to what the roots are, the grit of Detroit…

There’s a big caveat. Mainstream’s boring, in my opinion. Mainstream is go from A to B. And there are lots of boring cars out there that you can’t tell the difference. … if we really build a mainstream car and build it with design, craftsmanship, and technology as the key pillars, then you get in and it’s a beautiful design on the outside but they can all do that, you’re supposed to go in and go “Wow, this is a stunning interior.”

[Original story: Al Gardner interview at allpar.com]

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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