Larry Lyons is an engineer, but he should have been a salesman.
The vice president of Chrysler’s front-wheel drive product team smoothly points out the unique features of the 2007 Dodge Caliber.
“You don’t see this in all cars,” he says more than once.
He shows off the jazzy red-and-beige interior, the cooled beverage compartment inside the glove box, the iPod holder hidden in the sliding armrest, and a dozen other clever options that will probably elicit a common reaction among potential buyers: “Cool.”
When it comes to designing cars, Lyons describes a multiteam effort. One group or individual will sketch the exterior lines, while another focuses on the interior features. Both groups listen closely to the company’s planning and marketing departments to find out what customers — who can be notoriously fickle — want during any given year.
Frank Ewasyshyn, executive vice president of manufacturing at Chrysler, said cars today are built with future option packages in mind. The 2007 Caliber is already available in three models — SE, SXT and R/T — but the plant will easily accommodate future variants, such as a turbocharged version.
As for how long the Caliber will be in production, Ewasyshyn said, there is no way to tell. Though many modern cars come and go within six to 10 years, others span entire generations.
“The minivan was supposed to last three years,” he said. “That was 23 years ago. The (Jeep) Wrangler’s been going for 50 years.”
Source: Rockford Register Star