Young car designers, take heart the next time you find yourself alone late at night, trying to pen that next big hit and wondering whether it's worth the effort. Learn a lesson from Ralph Gilles, the man who designed the wildly popular Chrysler 300 sedan. Last week the Chrysler group promoted Gilles, 36, to vice president of Jeep/truck and component design. Gilles, who grew up in Montreal and joined Chrysler in 1992, replaces Ricardo Aneiros, 60, who is retiring.
300's designer gets VP rank
PRETTY IN PINK -- Mary Kay drove pink Cadillacs, so why not a pink Ford Fusion? For the first time in Ford's 11-year sponsorship of Race for the Cure, the pink-themed national breast cancer awareness program, the automaker is displaying a specially designed "Warriors in Pink" car in selected cities. And the division will showcase a pink Fusion at the New York auto show next month. "If the dealers say, 'yeah,' we may do other cars" in pink, says Linda Perry-Lube, Ford car communications manager. "We'll see what kind of momentum we get over the summer."
NO OSCAR FOR THIS ONE, EITHER -- At the dinner for major participants at this month's Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, Mercedes-Benz communications chief Geoff Day was giving a good-natured sponsor's welcome. Day suggested a new line of business for his company, based on the success of the film Brokeback Mountain. Said Day: "Too bad Brokeback Mountain didn't win, because we are already working on the sequel -- two German engineers brought together by their joint desire for power and thrust, and we're calling it Maybach Mountain."
STILL AROUND -- Twenty years after it debuted as the first luxury Japanese nameplate in the United States, Acura got to brag last week about its staying power -- even thought the brand now plays second fiddle to Lexus in the Japanese luxury market. At press events last week, John Mendel, American Honda Motor Co.'s senior vice president, showed a 1986 clip of Volvo North America President Bjorn Ahlstrom telling Jane Pauley on the "Today Show" about the Japanese: "I don't think they will ever be able to penetrate the luxury market." Ahlstrom's observation was common at the time -- as Mendel knows firsthand. Mendel, a former Ford executive, told a Detroit crowd: "I was a skeptic 20 years ago because Japanese luxury was too foreign."
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.