New Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli is actively involved in the design of Chrysler vehicles…or at least he’s actively involved in questioning the design of Chrysler vehicles.
“I drive a different car to work everyday,” he said during a recent web cast. He said upon arrival at work in the company’s Auburn Hills, Mich. headquarters, he meets with the company’s chief engineer who addresses Nardelli’s questions about each vehicle. Nardelli concedes his chief engineer is very “patient.”
“I’m not a designer: I’m a consumer,” he said.
Known as a hands-on executive, Nardelli has already asked Chrysler’s design team to see what it can do about it’s cheap and cold looking interiors. This is the same man who as the CEO of Home Depot had web cameras installed in Home Depot stores so he could have a look at what was going on at any given store from the comfort of his desk and a click of a mouse.
In fact, Nardelli actually called the manager of a store that had just opened to ask why several boxes of electric saws were sitting unopened in an aisle. After a minute of convincing the manager he was actually THAT Bob Nardelli, the problem was resolved.
It’s that attention to detail that got Nardelli appointed to the top post at Chrysler in spite of the fact that he had no automotive experience whatsoever, but Nardelli notes that of what he knows about running a company “70% is pretty portable and the other 20% or 30%…the rest, you have to be like a dry sponge.”
That “dry sponge” is already making his mark and Cerberus has given him plenty of financial incentive to ensure that Chrysler will succeed, which he confidently states that they will do just that. Listening to Nardelli, the status quo is no longer acceptable and he may be assuming the “car czar” role that Bob Lutz currently has at General Motors…if only from a more common man point of view.