Ralph Gilles Sets the Record Straight on the Airflow Concept’s Future

STLA Large Platform: The Foundation for Chrysler's New Tech-Forward Crossover...

In an interview with MotorTrend, Ralph Gilles, the Head of Design at Stellantis, clarified the status of the Chrysler Airflow Concept and Airflow Graphite Concept. He stated that these concepts, while impressive, will not be brought into production. However, he emphasized that this setback does not hinder Chrysler’s ambitious plans for an all-electric vehicle (EV). Gilles highlighted Chrysler’s agility and adaptability, revealing that the team is now focused on developing a new large two-row crossover with a modern design that surpasses the Airflow Concept.

Chrysler Airflow Graphite Concept. (Chrysler).

Gilles later took to Instagram to clear up any misunderstandings, stating, “I have been seeing so many articles saying that Chrysler isn’t building the Airflow EV… unfortunately misunderstanding me trying to explain that the design will evolve as we push the thesis even more under brand CEO Chris Feuell and our VP of Chrysler Design Irina Zavatski, leadership.”

“The Airflow was just the beginning of the story, a North star type of concept embodying a myriad of concepts we are cooking up with the extended and now even more capable Stellantis apparatus! Along with electrification, we explored advanced infotainment, whole life connectivity, sustainable cabin materials, while as its namesake underscores…explored the fusion of attractive bodywork versus aerodynamics, exploring fully automated and assisted driving configurations,” he continued.

Gilles assured fans that these ideas and developments are still actively progressing within the company. The final product, whatever its name and ultimate theme, will forge a refreshing new direction for the Chrysler brand. So while it may not look exactly like the concept, it doesn’t mean any work has been halted, and they encourage everyone to stay tuned for updates.

According to Feuell, the Chrysler large crossover concept has undergone successful customer clinics in Los Angeles and has surpassed expectations. Gilles expressed excitement for this upcoming vehicle, describing it as a potential hit.

Chrysler Airflow Graphite Concept. (Chrysler).

The new crossover will be based on the STLA Large platform, specially designed for EVs, offering advantages like a flat floor to house the batteries, improved proportions, dynamics, and advanced electrical architecture. It will retain some features and aesthetics from the Airflow Concept but will have a more modern and tech-forward design both inside and out.

The new crossover is expected to incorporate a range of STLA technologies and will be available with 400- and 800-volt systems to support fast charging. Customers will have the option to choose between a standard and long-range version, providing a range of up to 400 miles.

Chrysler Airflow Graphite Concept. (Chrysler).

Regarding the name, Feuell confirmed that the Airflow name would be reserved for the concept only. Chrysler has been working with naming consultants to create a short list of names, combining legacy and new options. Feuell assured enthusiasts that the brand would not adopt an alphanumeric naming convention. The new Chrysler electric crossover is set to enter production around 2025.

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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Whether it was their intention all along to evolve, or they pivoted, in the end is may be in everyone's favor. They got feedback and were able to tune things w/o delivering the product to market. They set the expectations that Chrysler's portfolio was going to be lean while they regroup and they are taking advantage of that timewindow.

Since it takes 2-3years to bring a vehicle to market, if you can pivot along that way to adjust and sacrifice a few months of sales for a longer sales run or better volume or respect, it is a long game. Some would argue that the 200 played the short game, in neglecting to account for the impact of a low headline would have on reception regardless of ergonomics, style and features. That didn't pan out well (although in hindsight moving it and dart to be co- on the Cherokee line may have likely paid off)

Maybe they are driving to be the best.... and not first, most, biggest.... Meanwhile, others are blazing the trail and adjusting the market, consumer, and infrastructure.

No matter - it must be a respected vehicle or something that significantly differentiates itself from the market. The fear I have it will have every bell/whistle and be overpriced and overwhelming... and underwhelming at the same time.

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2025? What? That would mean it would be a 2026. So once again Chrysler is behind the 8 ball. Now I do not like EV’s, but seeing they are being jammed down our throats, we so far behind in getting cars to the market. Seems most foreign car companies already have 1 or 2 EV’s out and more coming sooner rather than later. Yes we have plenty hybrids, but I believe they will be gone in 10 years.
I really can’t tell if Stellantis is dragging their feet and will use this to write off Chrysler, or if they have no clue what to do with them.
In order to survive Chrysler needs this crossover, a full size sedan (300 replacement) to go with the mini van. If they wait to long, loyal Chrysler customers will leave and it will be a tough fight to sell cars if you’re late to the EV party. There is no way to catch Tesla at this point, but at least keep up with the rest.

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The fear I have it will have every bell/whistle and be overpriced and overwhelming... and underwhelming at the same time.

My fear also. The legacy Chrysler Corporation has such a rich legacy of concept cars. On the AMC side of the family tree, does anyone else remember the 1960s AMX concept with the "Ramble Seat". One of the 1950s Ghia concepts which did get built wasn't a Plymouth or a Chrysler, but a VW.

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There is no way to catch Tesla at this point, but at least keep up with the rest.

I suspect Tesla is just a fad like the VW Beetle was in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Other automative fads, also from the Seventies, are the Firebird Trans Am and full size custom vans. This decades automotive fads which are fading fast are full size pickups and the Jeep brand. 🤫

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Just my opinion here, but two points. First, the Airflow was clearly not inspirational, a disappointing cookie cutter, blandly styled and certainly NOT a flagship vehicle needed by the brand. Second the all electric self imposed mandate for Chrysler is a doomed future based on the quickly eroding electric market as its shortfalls become public knowledge.
Chrysler can survive, but what is coming to the fore so far is flawed, uninspired, clearly something that needs a fast “hold it guys” moment to rethink the thinking and getting some gas powered Chrysler vehiles in the pipeline ASAP.
Frankly Ralph has had some duds in his time in charge and let’s hope he avoids another one with Chrysler and this reboot gets things on track.

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