Friday, August 22, 2008

Under the Pentastar: Wild Wheels, design change, Hybrids roll

Wild Wheels, a new head of design and the Hybrids are launched - these are some of the significant stories this week Under the Pentastar.

Chargers, Challengers and more, oh my! Over 300 Chrysler employees and retirees showed off their pride-and-joy at the tenth Wild Wheels at Work event, held at the company’s headquarters in Auburn Hills. Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler LLC, attending his first Wild Wheels, reflected on the importance of Chrysler’s heritage and the excitement it brings to the company.

Bob Nardelli
Chairman and CEO, Chrysler LLC

Well, I think it’s extremely important to always reflect back on our roots. The things that made this company such a wonderful iconic brand within the auto industry…it’s great to reflect on the past and use it to drive towards the future.

But the fun didn’t stop there. Challengers past and present were on hand at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum for Dodge Challenger Night, the sixth and final event of the Cruise Night series.

Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President of Design, announced his retirement after twenty years with Chrysler. Trevor played a key leadership role in the design of the Dodge Challenger, Chrysler 300C, and Dodge Viper, just to name a few. Taking his place will be Ralph Gilles who will take over at Vice President of Design effective September 1. Gilles oversaw the design of the all-new 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans and the 2009 Dodge Ram.

The 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 showed off some extreme adrenaline-pumping capability for employees at the Dodge Ram Challenge Tour. The tire-smokin’ drifting demo was part of the two-day “Never Back Down” Ram event in Pontiac, MI., that invited employees to come learn all about the all-new Ram 1500, and test-drive it themselves on some tough track conditions against its top competitors.

Chrysler LLC’s Hybrid Electric Vehicles - the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen - began rolling off the assembly line this week at its Newark, Delaware, assembly plant. The two-mode hybrid provides the fuel-saving benefits of a full-hybrid system, including electric-only operation. In this mode, the engine is “shut off,” with the vehicle moving under electric-only power at low speed. The result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption in heavy stop-and-go traffic.

More than 250 volunteers, including Dodge NASCAR drivers Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty, Kasey Kahne, Patrick Carpentier and Reed Sorenson, joined organizers from KaBOOM! to build a new and secure playground in Pontiac, Michigan. Among the volunteers were employees from 74 Chrysler Jeep® Superstores and Motor City Dodge Dealers. The playground is the eighth of 25 scheduled to be built nationwide in 2008.

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