The Chrysler group's Craig Love: "It has been a heck of a workload. But I am proud of what the team has done."
The Chrysler group has made tremendous gains in manufacturing efficiency and quality in recent years. Is the pressure on you to continue that momentum?
Absolutely it's there. I think we have made dramatic strides not only in quality but also in cost. If I look back at where we have been and where we are now, and ask are we good enough, I'd say we are not there yet. But we are sure getting a lot better a lot faster. We have had nine launches this year. It has been a heck of a workload. But I am proud of what the team has done.
With all the things you deal with, what keeps you awake at night?
Depending on the day, it can be quality, cost, performance, profitability, any number of things. All of that goes into making a successful company. Long term, what concerns me is how we stay able to meet market demands and serve the various needs of the environment and our constituents. Fundamentally, this industry is so important to the American economy. How do we keep delivering passionate vehicles that excite the marketplace but that are also environmentally responsible and serve to preserve the industry that is so important to us? I don't lay awake thinking of this every night, but that is my overriding concern.
Do you expect to hit your 2004 targets on quality, cost and manufacturing efficiency?
Absolutely. I think we are well positioned to do that.
Those of us who have been around a while see that the Chrysler group is the comeback kid again, and we wonder how long it's going to last.
The cycle would suggest there's a pattern here we certainly don't want to repeat. There are always going to be ups and downs, but the question is sustainability. We have to build on the 300's success and the Grand Cherokee's success. We are bringing a whole new group of customers to Chrysler with the 300 who are testing us in terms of quality.