Chrysler Group’s head of design Ralph Gilles wants to dramatically change the way his company’s vehicles are styled and he’s looking to the wind for guidance.
Gilles spoke yesterday at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference and said his team will concentrate on fuel-saving aerodynamics by spending more time in the wind tunnel, according to Automotive News. He cited the Toyota Avalon and Audi A7 as examples of the competition moving to sleeker designs.
“The wind is starting to sculpt these vehicles,” Gilles said. “We’ll have no choice but to be some of the most wind-swept vehicles that you’ve ever seen.”
Gilles has already pushed for more collaboration between designers and engineers and has even encouraged more frequent input from CEO Sergio Marchionne.
More importantly, Gilles’ design team has spent more time working and studying aerodynamics in the wind tunnel. According to the Automotive News report, Chrysler’s design team spends between 200-300 hours in the wind tunnel, compared to just 100 hours in the past. Chrysler was once an innovator in aerodynamic automotive design. Back in 1934, Chrysler turned to aviation pioneer Orville Wright for advice on integrating wind tunnels into the design process.
As a result, the Chrysler Airflow was the first car to feature unit-body construction and aerodynamically optimized design. Features included recessed headlights and streamlined sheetmetal. The design proved too radical, however, and was met by poor sales numbers. That shouldn’t be an issue for Chrysler today, with consumers embracing sedans with sporty design cues.
Do you welcome future Chryslers and Dodges with sleeker designs or do you prefer the boxier styling on today’s cars? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Source: Automotive News