LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

Why Chrysler's 300 Luxury Series needs Google Translate

Larry Vellequette covers Chrysler Group for Automotive News.
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I don’t speak Italian.

Like many people, I might be better off if the limits of my conversational Italian were broader than ordering a large specialty coffee and being able to say hello and goodbye with a single word.

But if that were the case, I wouldn’t be so impressed by the cacophony of beautiful-words-ending-in-vowels that now flow from Chrysler Group’s marketing department like thick, black gold from an espresso machine.

Consider its latest effort: the public introduction this week of the Chrysler 300 Luxury Series.

The upscale sedan version’s interior does not come in choice of black or brown/tan/taupe. Nope, it’s either black or “mochachino.”

In fact, its leather-wrapped seats, steering wheel and other interior components aren’t just, you know, leather-wrapped. They are “Poltrona Frau® ‘Foligno’ leather-wrapped.”

For the uninitiated, Poltrona Frau Group is a maker of high-end Italian leather furniture whose first name translates from Italian to English as “armchair,” just as Gucci is a maker of fine Italian handbags and other designer fashion accessories.

Also inside the 300 Luxury Series cabin is what Chrysler calls “selected Natural Pore Mocha wood trim featuring a matte finish.”

Unlike the nearby mochachino leather, there’s apparently no “chino” in that wood trim -- which translates to “bending” and therefore could make for some interesting interior lines.

And I am especially grateful that the real wood trim has “natural” pores. Though I have yet to run across real wood with unnatural pores, I’m guessing they won’t soak up the stains from my spilled Venti Espresso Macchiato nearly as well as their natural counterparts.

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.

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