Thinking that top executives had perhaps gotten out of touch with what the real world buyer of their cars is experiencing, Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda is sending 250 top executives out to test drive some used cars. He has them driving three-year-old DaimlerChrysler products because he wants them to learn about reliability issues and the experience consumers face a few years down the road of ownership.

Executives will turn in their own vehicles for two 10-day periods. In exchange, they will be given something from a fleet of used Jeep Grand Cherokees, Chrysler Town & Country minivans, Dodge Caravans, Chrysler Pacificas and Dodge Ram pickups. Apparently LaSorda practices what he preaches. He has been seen driving an old Grand Cherokee lately.

"Our CEO, Tom LaSorda, has always been pushing us to become more customer focused: to eat, sleep, walk and talk like an average customer," said Steve Walukas, vice president of corporate quality. "In our positions we're pretty fortunate that we typically get to drive new cars. 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."

The executives will be asked to evaluate each vehicle regarding first impressions and then follow up with impressions at the end of each 10-day trial. The program, which began in August, will run for another two months.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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