Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ralph Gilles | automobile designer with a vision

Ralph Gilles | automobile designer with a vision

When he was just six years old, Ralph Gilles developed a deep enthusiasm for automobiles. By the time he was eight years old, he was drawing concept vehicles.

Gilles’ aunt spotted his talent and when he was just 14, wrote to Lee Iacocca to tell him about it. The chief of design at Chrysler, K. Neil Walling, wrote back and suggested some design schools that Gilles might attend. He chose the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and later graduated with an Executive MBA from Michigan State University.

His passion for designing automobiles continued and he was hired by Chrysler in 1992. Eventually he was appointed head of Daimler Chrysler Corporation’s creative Studio 3.

It was in that studio that he led the designing of the the 2005 Chrysler 300, which was named the Car of the Year.

Some say the Chrysler 300 is classy. Some say it is sporty. What it is for everyone is eye catching. It draws admiring looks and compliments no matter where it goes. And speaking of going places…

Eventually, Gilles was charged with the huge task of revitalizing Chrysler and rebranding the Dodge. They wanted to differentiate them and appeal to new customers. The move was a big success and follwed the successes he had had with the Dodge Magnum, Dodge Viper. and Jeep Liberty. Those cars, especially the Chrysler 300, turned the company around. Almost immediately they went from the red into the black in terms of profit.

Ralph Gilles, ever the creative designer and innovator, is currently the Vice President of Jeep and Truck Design at the Chrysler Group. His Chrysler 300 and other visionary designs will go down in automobile history as true classics. Classics that originated in the the mind of a boy who had a dream. A dream that he followed.

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