I have some advice for the private equity firm Cerberus that appears likely to buy Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler—don’t just cut costs, the way you always do and then flip the company back out to the public. Instead, use Chrysler’s deep tradition of design and innovation to reshape the company into a 21st century consumer-driven, adaptable and cool auto giant.
You folks at Cerberus probably don’t know this but Chrysler used to have one of the best contests, the Chrysler Design Awards, that celebrated design everywhere. People in architecture, industrial design, auto design, graphics were all celebrated. Burt Ruton, who designed SpaceShipOne got one of the last awards. The program was ended when Daimler bought Chrysler.
More to the point, Chrysler itself has a rich history of wonderful design. The Crossfire is but one example. Getting Chrysler back to understanding why people buy cars and designing them with excitement and beauty may be a better—and even faster—way to turning the company around.
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