TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Chrysler Group's head of interior design said the automaker's bankruptcy helped transform its autos' new interiors.
Klaus Busse, the lanky German ex-pat who stayed on with Chrysler when former employer Daimler departed in 2007, said the inside of Chrysler's vehicles now have the soul they lacked five years ago.
To illustrate the point to his audience here today at the 2012 Management Briefing Seminars, Busse did much of his presentation from inside a 2013 Dodge Dart parked on a stage. He pointed to the vehicle's colorful 8.4-inch infotainment screen, comparing it to the utilitarian box radios that once dominated Chrysler's dashboards.
Referring to the old radios, he said: "We used to be given a brick and told to design around it. Now the designers, the engineers, the suppliers are all in the same room working together."
Busse said Chrysler's trip through bankruptcy in 2009 gave remaining employees a sense of shared purpose, additional budget, and the freedom to explore different designs.
"We keep pushing the envelope," Busse said, after recalling how Chrysler's interiors had earlier been compared unfavorably to the cheap plastic of a Chinese water pistol.