Minivan Pioneer Chrysler Expands to Crossovers With EV Push
(Bloomberg) -- Chrysler, the 96-year-old brand owned by Stellantis NV, will add sport utility vehicles to its line up as it becomes fully electric by 2028, brand head Chris Feuell said.
“You can expect to see us come out with a utility vehicle or two for sure,” Feuell, who became chief executive officer of the Chrysler brand in September, said in an interview from Las Vegas. “I’m really pushing our team to redefine the segments that we are playing in.”
Large sedans and a fully electric minivan could also be in the works, she said. The entire vehicle lineup will be fully electric by 2028, with the first EV due in 2025.
Chrysler, which pioneered the first minivans in the early 1980s, has been limping along with just a few nameplates -- the hybrid Pacifica minivan, the more budget-conscious Voyager and the 300 sedan. But the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group a year ago has brought new resources, and CEO Carlos Tavares has given Chrysler and Stellantis’s 13 other brands a decade to prove their mettle.
“If you were going to pick a brand to take some risks, Chrysler is the perfect brand to do it with because you’ve got a lot of fans in the industry and in the marketplace who are rooting for Chrysler to come back,” said Feuell.
Chrysler offered a glimpse of its product roadmap with an electric concept vehicle called the Chrysler Airflow at the CES consumer tech show in Las Vegas Wednesday. The sleek crossover, a stark design departure from its trademark girthy minivan, will deliver 350 to 400 miles of range, the company said.
The Airflow features a digital cockpit the automaker is building with Foxconn Technology Group and a software system it’s calling STLA Brain, which will digitally sync the car with customers’ homes and workplaces. It will also offer driver-assistance features that let motorists go hands-off for limited periods.
Chrysler is aiming to woo younger, more affluent consumers along with its core demographic of moms, Feuell said.
“It’s not just the traditional nuclear family,” she said, adding couples with pets and recent college grads with groups of friends to the mix of target consumers.
Chrysler bucked the industry’s broader trend of shrinking deliveries in 2021: Vehicles sold rebounded 18% in the fourth quarter and rose 4% for the year to 115,004, largely driven by the hybrid Pacifica minivan, which resumed production after being stymied during the year due to chip shortages.
Demand from people shifting from urban to suburban neighborhoods during the pandemic helped boost Pacifica sales, Feuell said.
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