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Chrysler looks to customers for design, tech insight

The result was Project Ingenuity, a collaborative effort involving existing and prospective customers that allows Chrysler to gather feedback on new design themes, technology interfaces, future product ideas and new experiences under consideration.

The brand pitched Project Ingenuity to consumers during a research session and found they were open to the idea.

The goal, Feuell said, was to “forge a closer relationship and understanding for what they want, not just from the vehicle, but from their relationship with the company and how we serve them.”

This quest to overhaul the customer experience comes as Chrysler gets ready to launch its first battery-electric vehicle, in 2025.

“We’ll be looking at it from both angles and giving the customer the kind of experience that not only makes them feel satisfied, but we want it to be best in class,” Feuell said this month on the sidelines of the New York auto show.

Feuell was at the show to showcase another version of the Airflow electric concept that debuted at CES in January.

While the brand teases its future design philosophy with the Airflow, consumers in the Project Ingenuity sessions are getting a taste of what could come beyond that.

Feuell said the brand showed consumers a “design theme” for a future vehicle, and they responded by saying it was a vehicle they would want right now. She called that feedback “energizing.”

“We know the Airflow looks great, but we think that we can push the design theme even further in the modern, tech-savvy sort of space, and I think we’ve done that,” Feuell said.

Chrysler is evaluating ideas about some of the technologies it’s looking to incorporate into future vehicles to understand what consumers find useful and exciting. And, just as importantly, the brand is learning what people don’t want.

One sticking point for some potential buyers was the prospect of a personal assistant.

“This idea of a personal digital assistant was really interesting with some consumers, but they were really concerned about the security of the personal information,” Feuell said. “So we’ve got to sell for that. We’ve got to make customers feel safe and secure; that the software that’s incorporated along with the artificial intelligence is protecting their information and keeping it secure.”

Feuell said Chrysler wants to make sure it’s “not creating technology just for technology’s sake” and that such a feature is “something that [customers] will value and use, and it helps make their mobility experience not just better, but satisfying and pleasing.”

Project Ingenuity has conducted several sessions during the past few months.

Feuell said social media-savvy customers expect to have that sort of connection with companies.

“They love the idea of having a seat at the table,” Feuell said.

“The company gets a lot of credibility when we show we not only heard their feedback, but we did something with it.”


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