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Last week at the Chicago Auto Show, the CEO of the Dodge brand, Ralph Gilles alluded to Apple computers as an inspiration for the design of their future products. Bravo. Seriously.

In the past, Chrysler Corporation was often hailed for their ground-breaking design. The vehicles Chrysler created in past eras (think Prowler...think PT Cruiser...think Viper) would get you pretty jazzed up. I think of my reactions when I received an iPod as a gift or our family bought an Apple computer. I can tell you, we were more excited about those than something that drove 100+mph on 4 wheels. Why? Because Apple's product is elegantly designed. And their stuff integrates with your lifestyle and other personal tools so easily. You want to play with an iPod or an iPhone. Do you want to play with a car? In most cases, no, because it might break and that's not fun.

In any case, the auto industry can take some cues from other industries. This is a theme I've spoken and written about in the past. Whether it's the gaming industry or other technology sectors, actively listening to the market, watching for the right demand signals and being relevant to consumers, on their terms, makes it easier to succeed.

Here's to inspiration. And here's to learning from other market leaders that can help auto companies reach their goals more quickly.

Posted by Lonnie Miller, Vice President, Marketing & Industry Analysis, Polk (02.16.2009)



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