Under the supervision of its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Christine Feuell is in a revitalized period as the brand moves toward offering a fully-electrified lineup by 2028. With the 96-year-old brand showcasing its new Chrysler Airflow Concept earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and a second time at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), the “blue-collar luxury” brand isn’t holding back on the direction it’s taking for the next decade.
Now, while the Airflow Concept is a two-row crossover, the minivan continues to be what Chrysler is known for. Introduced in 1984, Chrysler’s truly revolutionary front-wheel-drive (FWD) minivans were an instant success. The Chrysler minivans offered an attractive and practical alternative to the traditional station wagon and full-sized vans, from the 1970s. Today, the minivans have become the do everything, and do everything well vehicle for families.
While minivans have gotten a bad rap as a “soccer mom” or “grocery getter” vehicle, Chrysler has re-invented the minivan segment with its latest generation of Pacifica minivans. Now competing against larger three-row crossovers, the Pacifica offers capability, capacity, and functionality that would put some full-size crossovers to shame. But Chrysler’s minivans still continue to struggle to shake the stigma of the terms we stated before.
In a recent interview with “Green Car Reports“, Feuell was asked about whether the minivan would have its place in Chrysler’s electrified future portfolio. She simply responded, “Yeah.” While she wouldn’t go in-depth about the brand’s future plans surrounding the minivan, she did reply, I think it’s safe to say that we are looking to reinvent the minivan in our future lineup.”
Feuell believes that the automaker’s goal should be to do “a segment-buster, again.” She highlighted that the Pacifica’s exclusive Stow ‘N Go seating configuration, where both the second-and third-row seating fold flat into the floor, optimizing cargo volume in only a matter of seconds, could play a role in a future Chrysler electrified vehicle.
That may prove to be quite the engineering and design feat, as electric vehicles tend to place their large battery packs low in the center of the vehicle’s chassis. Currently, on the Pacifica plug-in hybrid (PHEV), Chrysler does not offer the Stow ‘N Go seating configuration. The reason why is simple, instead of housing the tubs to hold the seats for the second row under the floor, Chrysler uses the area to house the Pacifica PHEV’s high-voltage 96-cell Li-ion, 16 kWh battery pack.
The Stow ‘N Go seating configuration, has been a staple of the minivan’s functionality since its introduction in 2005 in the fourth-generation (RS) minivans.
Feuell also when on to discuss the minivan, as a “life-stage vehicle”. It was highlighted that the segment is dominated by families, with not every family using their vans in the same manner. Range was also an important topic discussed. According to the Chrysler CEO, “A 400-mile (644-kilometer) range seems to be the sweet spot for many customers who are trying to overcome the anxiety that they have about considering [the] range.”
When it comes to the brand’s future electrified portfolio, the Chrysler CEO did state that the recently showcased Airflow, “is purely a concept and not a production-intent preview of an EV”. Chrysler is expected to bring up to three new battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) to market before 2028. MoparInsiders.com has learned that the first one, internally codenamed (CA) will be a D-segment crossover.
With an all-electric crossover and minivan clearly being focused on, Green Car Reports did ask Feuell about the possibility of a sedan being one of those three BEV vehicles looking to be brought to market by 2028, as the Chrysler 300 Series looks to come to an end after the 2023 model year. Feuell simply replied, “It’s not off the table.”
Source: Green Car Reports