Monday, September 10, 2007

Nardelli: We'll take products up a notch

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli: The Hemi is here to stay.
Photo credit: REBECCA COOK


Bradford Wernle
Automotive News
September 10, 2007 - 12:01 am ESTDETROIT -- Chrysler will upgrade some of its vehicles to make them competitive with best-in-class cars and trucks.

"We've got some vehicles we need to make some tweaks on," said CEO Bob Nardelli, speaking at an Automotive Press Association lunch here Friday, Sept. 7.

Nardelli said he and other Chrysler executives spent Aug. 30 and 31 looking at best-in-class vehicles that compete with Chrysler LLC vehicles.
"We're willing to make the investments in those vehicles, to take them up a notch," said Nardelli, who has visited design studios in Detroit.

He did not identify the vehicles or the timetable. But he did say muscle cars and Hemi engines are critical to Chrysler's heritage and will be preserved. He also said that Chrysler is "mindful" that customers value fuel efficiency.

Nardelli said he hopes fuel economy legislation coming out of Congress "won't penalize the people who make a living" with pickups.

"Every new product platform" will be designed with "a strong bias" toward whatever legislation emerges, he said.

Chrysler will closely watch customer quality measuring sticks, including Consumer Reports magazine and J.D. Power and Associates quality studies.

"We're not going to fight them," he said. "We're going to embrace them."

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