Chrysler to Introduce Multiple New Vehicles in EV Push
Not only is Chrysler not going away, but the brand is finally getting its long-sought renaissance. Reborn as Stellantis’ high-tech brand, Chrysler is getting several new vehicles as a necessary part of its move to an all-electric lineup by 2028. Speaking to MotorTrend from the 2022 CES show, brand CEO Chris Feuell outlined several new products coming in the next six years that will help Chrysler transition from being the minivan company to a forward-thinking EV automaker.
First All-New, All-EV Model By 2024
While the Chrysler Airflow Concept unveiled at CES looks nearly ready to hit the road, the simple fact is Stellantis is behind the industry in EV development. As such, it’ll be two more years before the first all-new Chrysler hits the road, but when it does, it’ll borrow a lot of the Airflow Concept’s styling and technology.
The Airflow Concept itself will not go into production, and Feuell wasn’t ready to commit to using the Airflow name, either. Serious auto history buffs will recognize it from the technologically cutting-edge car of the 1930s which was ultimately a sales flop, but the average consumer should have no such negative connotation.
Whatever it’s called, it’ll be built on the STLA Large electric vehicle platform Stellantis is developing. In fact, Feuell said all of Chrysler’s upcoming products will be built on STLA Large, forgoing smaller, less profitable models. The real trick, she said, is building Chrysler vehicles that other Stellantis brands and outside competitors aren’t already building, her way of saying badge engineering has to go. While other Stellantis brands will use STLA Large, she wants to see much more differentiation in the final products.
If the Airflow Concept is an accurate predictor, the new EV SUV will have a 118-kWh battery pack giving it a range of 350 to 400 miles. Stellantis has said previously STLA Large platform vehicles could see ranges of up to 500 miles.
More SUVs Coming By 2028
After the Airflow-like production car gets on the road, it’ll be followed-up by “one or two” more electric SUVs. Feuell wouldn’t go into detail, but knowing the platform gives us some clues. If the Airflow-like car is similar in size, it would be a mid-size two-row SUV. It’s unlikely Chrysler would make more than one of those, but it’s quite possible the brand will follow the example set by the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and offer both a two-row and a three-row version of the same SUV.
It’s even more likely the other new vehicle would be a full-size three-row SUV. That market segment is very hot and pretty profitable, too. Profit margins matter because today EVs are, according to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, 50 percent more expensive to build than gas-powered cars.
The Minivan Will Evolve
Chrysler was actually the third brand to get a minivan after Dodge and now-defunct Plymouth, but even before the cancelation of the Dodge Caravan several years ago, Chrysler has been known as the minivan brand for a long time now. The Pacifica is still far and away the sales leader in the segment and the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market today. Even though minivan sales have contracted in the shadow of rising SUV sales, the segment is still important to Chrysler and the minivan will endure the EV transition.
It will not, however, be just an electrified Pacifica. Feuell wants to see a “fresh perspective” on what a minivan, or the less-stigmatized “multi-purpose vehicle” in her words, can be. While she appreciates the value in Chrysler’s reputation as the family brand, she’d like to expand the tent to more than families with young children. She wants a vehicle that works for and appeals to any type of family you’re a part of, not just the outdated “soccer mom” stereotype.
Feuell didn’t say when to expect a next-generation minivan, but given the importance of that particular product both the brand’s customers and its bottom line, we think the Pacifica will soldier on for several more years. The last Town & Country stayed on the market for eight years, and the Pacific is still in its fifth year, so it’s got time.
What About The 300?
With the Dodge Charger and Challenger set to bow out in 2024, the Chrysler 300 as we know it is on it’s way out, too. The Dodge cars will be replaced by a new EV muscle car in 2024 also built on STLA Large. This does not necessarily mean, however, there will be a 300 to go with them. When asked directly, Feuell did not confirm or deny a next-generation 300 sedan but instead pivoted to discussing the upcoming SUVs that will define Chrysler in the future. While she didn’t say no outright, a next-generation 300 seems unlikely.
Expect The Tech
Regardless of body type, expect all new Chryslers to lean heavily on Stellantis’ new connected vehicle technology. As of this model year, you can get Amazon Fire TV in the Pacifica, allowing passengers to stream or download shows and movies and get information from Alexa. This partnership is set to grow, and future Chrysler products will incorporate the Airflow Concept’s built-in cameras to allow for video chatting on the go. Directed audio and screen filters will allow multiple passengers to watch, listen to, and interact with their screens at the same time without hearing or seeing what others are doing with theirs.
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