It seems natural that Andy Love would one day work for Chrysler -- to everyone, apparently, but Andy Love.
The lanky 39-year-old head of car product marketing for the Chrysler brand is the son of one high-ranking Chrysler engineer, now retired, and the grandson of another. Yet, when serendipity found him in 1999 and turned him toward "the family business," Love had been managing a sporting goods store in suburban Detroit after a year spent out West as a glorified ski bum.
Love had gone to Michigan State University intending to become an engineer. It didn't work out.
"I hated it," Love said -- and he ended up majoring in marketing and working in retail.
"A friend of mine came into the [sporting goods] store one day and said he had gotten a job at Chrysler and that they had openings and I ought to apply," Love recalled. "So I did, and the first thing I did was call my dad and say, 'Guess where I just applied for a job?'"
Love was hired in July 1999 and spent a year working in the customer assistance call center before heading into the field in Denver as a sales representative and district manager.
Fast-forward a decade, and he is doing what he loves: selling cars.
"Once you work in sales, and you're so close to the sale, it's such a rewarding job," he said. "You can see the benefit of the sale, and seeing people driving your car."
When his employer reorganized after its 2009 bankruptcy, Love was one of the first employees assigned to the Chrysler brand. And since the bankruptcy, he has had the opportunity to shape the development and rollout of the redesigned 2015 Chrysler 200 and the freshened 2015 Chrysler 300 sedans.
He has pushed for added content and variations that give dealers a wide array of products to sell under the 200 and 300 nameplates -- at an equally wide range of prices.
Love has put his mark on the 200, in particular. His time with the midsize sedan dates to its predecessor, the unloved Chrysler Sebring. In March, the 200 was Fiat Chrysler's No. 2 seller in the United States, trailing only the Ram pickup line.
"It's rare for someone to stay in a job to work on the future product and then launch it and manage it," Love said. "It's amazing how far we've come."
-- Larry P. Vellequette