Mon, Oct 16, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Chrysler executives test driving old cars

AP , AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN

The top 250 executives at Chrysler are test driving three-year-old vehicles to check reliability and the consumer experience at the request of Chrysler Group president and chief executive Tom LaSorda.

The executives will turn in their 2006 and 2007 vehicles for two 10-day periods to test-drive a used fleet of Jeep Grand Cherokees, Chrysler Town & Country minivans, Dodge Caravan minivans, Chrysler Pacifica crossovers and Dodge Ram pickups, according to a Detroit Free Press report on Saturday.

Having test drives for used vehicles was LaSorda's idea ,and he was seen recently driving an old Grand Cherokee, the newspaper said.

"In our positions we're pretty fortunate that we typically get to drive new cars," said Steve Walukas, vice president of corporate quality.

"I know in my own situation, my friends, neighbors and relatives say, `You wouldn't know what it's like to drive a car with a lot of miles on it.' This is a true way to understand," he said.

The program for executives at DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group began in August and will run for two more months, Walukas said.

The executives will evaluate each test-drive with a report on first impressions and another report on how things went during the 10-day trial, the newspaper said.

Chrysler says it has about 30 million vehicles in the US and the average age is six to eight years old.

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