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Great days for designers

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News

Chrysler's design team is having a difficult time finding talent.

Design chief Ralph Gilles says the automaker is "trying to hire. It's tough. The market for designers is very, very good right now."

Timing is everything.

"For a young designer, it is a good time to graduate," Gilles said during an interview last week at the Chicago Auto Show. "We are looking for experienced talent as well as young, brand new, out of school."

He didn't say how many openings the automaker is trying to fill.

Gilles says things have changed since he joined Chrysler in 1992. Back then, a designer had to wait years before getting the OK to work on a production vehicle.

"Now it is the opposite. Everybody is touching the real car that is going to be on the road.

"I make sure that each designer gets that chance. I had that chance and I know what it feels like. It really is probably the best motivation there is, knowing that car will be on the road and I can manipulate popular culture and help the company at the same time.

"That is what a designer lives for."

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