Ralph Gilles, head of the SRT brand and Chrysler Group's design operations, says the design of the 2015 Chrysler 200 will influence future Chrysler products. He also says that the Viper shouldn't be compared with the Chevrolet Corvette.
Gilles, 44, spoke with Staff Reporter Larry P. Vellequette this month at the Detroit auto show.
Q: How will the 2015 Chrysler 200 styling translate to future Chryslers?
A: It's a kind of a fluidic surface that looks as though it is responding to the elements. That's the whole thing: Make the car look organic, like it grew that way. I'm a big, big fan of holistic design, so the vehicle blends and looks cohesive. Everything responds and reacts to each other. It gives you an end result that looks like people really sweat the details. If there's anything you're going to see from Chrysler, it's that we're going to sweat the details on every car we make.
You've launched a program this winter in the South to let consumers test drive Vipers. How are consumers responding?
It's going really good, and we've actually sold many vehicles. A lot of it was understanding the car. We got a lot of customers to drive the car that hadn't. We've been watching the buzz in online forums and in the blogs, and the reaction has been amazing.
Unfortunately, people had it in their minds that the car was just an evolution, and it's not. It's a whole new machine. It's direct. It's handmade. It's tight.