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Chrysler: Viper may return

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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-26-10 10:38 AM
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Chrysler: Viper may return
Chicago -- Chrysler Group LLC design chief Ralph Gilles teased the audience during a speech here with pictures and sketches of future products, including a Dodge Viper that could return in 2012.

Gilles said work continues on what a next-generation Viper would look like if approval is given to bring it back into the portfolio. The icon of the Dodge brand is being discontinued in July.

Gilles said the Viper is not a priority, but he recognizes its values as a halo, noting kids around the world drive digital Vipers in video games.

The real priority now is designing a family of midsize sedans, hatches and crossovers for use by Chrysler and Fiat SpA brands in a couple years, said Gilles, who also is head of the Dodge brand.

To help understand the market -- many smaller cars will be bought by millennials -- Gilles said he has hired a number of designers in their early 20s to work on future models.

Gilles was filling in as the speaker at the Chicago Economic Club for Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who had to go to Russia to finalize a joint venture to expand production there starting in 2016.

The design chief spoke highly of his new boss and the management team Marchionne has created.

"I've never felt better about where Chrysler is at," said Gilles, who has worked for eight CEOs at Chrysler in 17 years.

The partnership at Fiat came at the right time to provide balance to a company that needed it. Chrysler had too many one-hit wonders in its history and too much overlap with vehicles for multiple brands that look the same, Gilles said.

"Without Fiat we would never have had a shot because our plan was so lopsided." With Fiat, Chrysler will gain a global portfolio of smaller cars designed to be sold internationally, in addition to its trucks and SUVs.


From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100211/AUTO01/2110466/...
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