The Chrysler Group will establish a specialty vehicle unit, much like AMG for Mercedes-Benz, by year-end, says Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard.

It will start with production of the Chrysler Prowler and Dodge Viper as its product base, but with a clear mandate to expand specialty vehicles produced by the Chrysler Group.

Reformulating how the carmaker tackles low-volume and highly complex vehicles will “expand the scope of the business and product range,” says Mr. Bernhard.

The unit will be staffed with representatives from marketing, manufacturing, engineering and finance.

It is in line with the overall restructuring of platform teams into product innovation teams, Mr. Bernhard says.

He confirms to Ward's that partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has similar approaches to product development. More foreign is the idea of 50 component teams determining parts for vehicles across platforms. Sharing will be extended to Mercedes-Benz.

Mr. Bernhard will not say whether the amount of work being re-sourced to new suppliers will exceed the $2 billion that shifted hands in 2000. The strategy is to reward those who produce the best concept for a part or integrated module.

And quality is as important as price. Automakers are lumped into three quality classes — the Japanese in the first group as quality leaders, Europeans second, and the Big Three, including the Chrysler Group, in the third, says Mr. Bernhard.