Follow That Fruit
Chrysler's Gilles says Apple should inform the car maker's move forward
Gilles said that while Chrysler has a storied history of innovation -- the badge pretty much invented both the minivan and the modern SUV -- many of its recent offerings have been either "me too" vehicles, which look like everything else, or models that received a lot of design attention but became one-hit wonders due to lack of follow-through.
Now, designwise, Gilles is the man. He created the Chrysler 300, which, while it's starting to show its years, was a pretty badass, head-turning car when it debuted. The man knows of what he speaks. The one thing I will question, though, is the following quote from the Automotive News source article:
Gilles talked of winning over a new generation of “millennial” customers, people more interested in social networking than how a car looks. Gilles said his design studios are now filled with designers in their early 20s who “understand the market better than I could ever hope to.”I heard a lot of this at the L.A. Auto Show -- that somehow the millennial generation (younger kids who were born into a connected world) prefer social networking and connectivity at the expense of stylish sheet metal. I just don't understand why it's thought of as a zero-sum game; as Ford has demonstrated of late, most recently with the Fiesta, putting a premium on technology does not mean you need to put that technology in a bland car. And while some of the rides popular with younger buyers are flat-out ugly to me -- hot boxes like the Scion xB come to mind -- that doesn't mean they're a-stylistic. Theirs is simply a distinct style that doesn't appeal to me. If he's really going to emulate Apple, Gilles needs to realize that connectivity and style need not only to go hand-in-hand, but do so in a way that seems both seamless and intuitive.
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