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2.8.06

How Chrysler designed the Sebring 

As I am on a deadline at work, ponder just how —now the US’s number five after Honda beat it in sales—came up with its Sebring . In a word, this is ugly—this is what happens when one tries to incorporate a ’s elements so strongly that the overall suffers. ‘Ooh, let’s put on a hood like the Crossfire’s!’ ‘Let’s try to make the rear window slope like it, too!’ ‘Hey, why don’t we do a grille like the one we have on the minivan?’
   For those of us expecting a scaled-down, muscular Chrysler 300 that could knock the socks off the Camry and Accord, this was disappointing. By all means, —but not to the point of sacrificing a product’s overall attractiveness.
   But JD, a car blogger in Washington, DC, may have the mystery solved at Autoerratic. In ‘Autoerrathmetic Vol. 8’, he poses his theory on how arrived at the Sebring’s design. Check it out—I think he’s right, and it’s a simpler explanation than the one I came up with. Pity: the old one may have driven like a dog, but it looked great.
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Comments:
I dont know if you have ever done this already but have you thought of submitting your articles to the car mags out there. Im quite certain they would be very interested. Based on all you have written, I have decided the car was great and I might buy it or the car sucked and I would steer clear of it.  
Blackops, I own a few magazines so I do get to indulge, but probably because of that, other titles aren’t as ready to touch my motoring pieces. I have tried a pretty good range of cars in my experience, in this list which I compiled back in April.  
You caught them Jack!

If you are going to be ugly, I say be ugly because that is your creative vision for the car. My favorite example: the Scion xB - why be beautiful when you can be interesting!

Chrysler seems to have produced an ugly car because they wanted to play it safe by incorporating design elements that had worked else where, or that would lower production cost. Who knows? But the results are as you say.

A large part of my work continues to be the awakening of creative vision in the hearts and minds of clients.

Maybe I should call the folks at Chrysler? Grin.

Thanks for a piece of your mind - in the midst of a deadline!  
Excellent point, Mike, about the Scion. Funny thing with the xB, or Toyota bB as it is called in its home market, is that there is some odd beauty in its ugliness—the proportions are roughly what you would expect if someone said, ‘Design a car. Here is a ruler, and a pen. Do not use any other tools.’
   You should give the folks at Chrysler a call! The Sebring could have been so much more—principally a mini-hot rod without going the whole retro direction. Even Chevrolet’s 2008 Malibu, while dull, appears more cohesive than this effort.
   From a business point of view, a car this confused is a sign of people not working together well. Chrysler was once known for having one of the most efficient R&D processes in the world, computerizing to a stage where all departments had a hand in the car, in real time. Plus departmental heads all got on and instilled a culture as the smallest of the Big Three, therefore, everyone had to work together. (These were the years of the Prowler and Viper.)
   The crazy design of the Sebring suggests that the car was ill-defined from the beginning, and this element may have been drastically compromised in an effort to force these design cues and, I imagine, packaging requirements to challenge Camry, Accord, Malibu and Fusion. It’s hard to believe this comes from the same people who gave us the 300, the minivan and even the Caliber.  
Yes, I remember seeing this list which was another why I thought you had good cause and good standing to comment on all of them and any other car that was out there.  
Thank you, Blackops—sorry I sent that link to you again. Maybe one of these days I might do this—it is the one thing I truly enjoy.  
It looks like the result of bad market research...

"The survey shows customers like these features from the current models. If we combine them into one it'll be a smash hit!"  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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