For the past several years, the automotive press, insiders, fans, and even Walter P. Chrysler’s great-grandson have been left wondering what will happen to the Chrysler brand. The 97-year old automaker has gone from being the blue-collar worker’s luxury brand to a mainstream people mover brand, which has been reduced to just 8 distinct models in 2001 to only 3 today. Made of the award-winning Chrysler Pacifica and Voyager (Grand Caravan in Canada) minivans and the beloved Chrysler 300 Series sedan, the future of the brand has been in question for several years.
Last year, FCA Canada and the Canadian labor union (Unifor) reached an agreement that committed a $1.3 to $1.5 billion investment towards a future Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) or a Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV) for the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, which currently manufacturers the Chrysler minivans. The vehicle was expected to launch in 2023 as a 2024 model, but no additional information was provided at the time.
Immediately, MoparInsiders was quit to call that a Chrysler product was planned for that production slot. The Chrysler brand had released two electrified concept vehicles, one in 2017, the Chrysler Portal Concept received a lot of attention for its purpose to introduce a user-friendly driving experience for Millenials in an urban setting. The vehicle was then highlighted in the Netflix documentary series “Abstract: The Art of Design”, which followed then Head of FCA Design, Ralph Gilles, and his team about their path to bring the vehicle from idea to concept.
The second vehicle we discussed, the Chrysler Airflow Vision Concept was overshadowed at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, by the first appearance of the Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4xe and North American first appearances of the Renegade and Compass 4xe models.
Showcased as just a shell, the Chrysler Airflow Vision Concept, was a sculptural design concept that envisions the next generation of premium transportation and user experience (UX) by considering how the driver and passengers could interact with advanced technologies. It is created for customers with an on-the-go lifestyle and a desire for a first-class travel experience while balancing their technology needs within a serene environment.
Some of the UX technology showcased in the Airflow Vision Concept is making its way to production now. For example, the new front passenger display in the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
But today during the Stellantis EV Day 2021 presentation, we were treated to a quick teaser of a more production-based version of the Airflow Vision Concept by Head of Design, Ralph Gilles. While no details were provided about the new version of the vehicle, it is clearly released to the Airflow Vision Concept in terms of styling, interior layout, and UX technology. Even down to the Chrysler Airflow Vision Concept’s crystalized rotary shifter knob on the center console.
But today wasn’t the only time, Stellantis has teased this vehicle. It was also shown during the Foxconn joint venture announcement, where its in-car technologies were shown about past collaborations between the two identities.
While we aren’t exactly sure if this version of the Airflow Vision is more of a further evolved interpretation of the original shell we seen at CES or more of a design concept aimed at production, it clearly looks like something that is more production-based than conceptual.
We can clearly see that the rear of the vehicle has been updated, with a new C and D-pillar design. The taillight design and the front fascia have evolved since last year, but clearly pull inspiration from the concept vehicle. We also have noticed that while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) refused to call the concept, the Chrysler Airflow Vision Concept a Chrysler and equipped it with “Airflow” badging, this version features no Airflow designation, only a new take on the Chrysler wing badge with just its outline.
Nevertheless, we expect the Chrysler brand to develop a new crossover vehicle to fit the changing market and this version of the Airflow Vision fits both the crossover category and the electrified path that Stellantis is taking in the next couple of years. The sneak peek at this vehicle, should put the Chrysler naysayers to rest for the time being.
Chrysler Airflow Vision Image Gallery: