DETROIT--Dodge's top executive predicts technology is going to be the game-changer for car companies and their designers going forward.
Ralph Gilles, CEO of the Dodge brand and Chrysler Group's design chief, said cars must be able to adapt to evolving technologies while remaining pleasing to the eye. Smartphones, touch screens, and colorful interfaces are all becoming common in cars and will be the baseline for any manufacturer.
The ability to add more technology will separate the winners from the losers in the future.
"Technology is going to be the trump card--absolutely, without question ... making the active interface the reason people buy a car in the future," Gilles said in the keynote address at the AutoWeek Design Forum on Jan. 14.
Gilles said he expects car design to change in the next decade as designers adapt to hybrids and electric cars, which require smaller engines or a switch to noncombustion engines.
Gilles admitted that design could be lessening in importance as younger buyers place more value on tech-savvy features. He said only 5 percent of the millennial generation cares about styling. In many areas, he said, design has grown staid. The millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, are often defined as those born between 1978 and 1994.
"I challenge the design community to dig deep and really try to freak each other out a bit," Gilles said.
Future Dodge products won't lose their rough-and-tumble edge. Gilles showed a few images of a future Charger with imposing lines and strong sheet metal creases.
(Source: Automotive News)