It's a tad ironic coming from the Chrysler design chief who made his mark a decade ago with the slab-sided Chrysler 300, an influential, in-your-face sedan with sheet metal that made the industry think boxy, not-so-aerodynamic styling could be cool. But these days Ralph Gilles says his stylists are spending hundreds of hours in the wind tunnel trying to create lozenge-shaped vehicles rather than unslippery rectangles.
Gilles says cars such as the Audi A7 and the redesigned Toyota Avalon have shown that mid-sized sedans can have the aerodynamic shapes typically associated with sports cars. And so Chrysler designers are going with the flow.
"The wind is starting to sculpt these vehicles," said Gilles last week at a gathering of Michigan business and political leaders.
He said Chrysler will need to follow the industry trend toward sleeker cars -- including the next-generation 200 and 300.
Said Gilles: "We'll have no choice but to be some of the most wind-swept vehicles that you've ever seen."