On Friday, June 6th, The Detroit News printed a story concerning an internal Question and Answer session between a small group within theÂ Chrysler CorporationÂ and the Corporate Chiefs. The Q&A session was intended to respond to the disquiet among employees overÂ Chrysler’s current products and their harsh reviews by Consumer Reports and other auto professionals. The results of the session were some strong criticisms and confessions from the top and a plan for some vital changes.
When questioned directly about the poor performance of the new 2007 models, particularly the Sebring and Dodge Nitro, Bob Lee, head of power train engineering, wrote that they had “missed where the market was to end up versus our projections.”Â Â Lee also noted that the CEO’s of Chrysler were “quite upset” with performance and miscalculations of their new cars. Jose Valcourt of The Detroit NewsÂ summedÂ it up this way:
“Chrysler underestimated competitors, set standards too low in some areas and was not where it needed to be in areas such as fuel economy, interior quality, and limiting noise and vibration.”
In response to all the unflattering critiques of the new cars for 2007 Chrysler has devised a plan of action. One of the actions to take place will be the hiring of ASI Consulting Group to work with them on improving their design in regards to the customers needs. Chrysler also vowed to alter the strategies by which they gauge the market and their competitors plans for the coming years. Their concern is how much the missed the mark in their expectations for the other auto makers releases of this year. In terms of fuel efficiency, interior quality and their response to customer complaints Chrysler has lagged behind their automotive counterparts. If it were not for a few redesigns that hit-the-mark, like the new Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler were be heading for another rocky year.
It seems the traditional Big Three of the Automotive Industry have been playing follow the leader in a pitch dark warehouse for so long they may have forgotten they were designing cars for the Consumer. How they have remained ignorant of the needs of improved fuel efficiency or what those needs areÂ is beyond comprehension. Only time will tell if their renewed Commitment to Excellence brings Chrysler back from the brink as Lee Iacocca did decades ago.