The Chrysler Airflow? Yeah, no: Apparently that’s not going to be a thing.
It happens once or twice each year: A few of us in the TFL office pause for a few minutes and think, “What is going on with Chrysler?”. We thought the Airflow concept was the answer. It brings a desperately needed successor for the soon-to-be-defunct 300 and kicks the brand into an electrified age. But now, Motor Trend reports that Chrysler is moving in a different direction, toward a different car without the 1930s-era Airflow name.
Christine Feuell, who joined Stellantis as Chrysler’s brand boss in September 2021, is keen to start over and bring out a more modern design than what we’ve seen since last year. Evidently, that’s a challenge Stellantis chief design officer Ralph Gilles is all too happy to grab with both hands.
Considering he’s the man behind the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT EV and the Ram Revolution pickup truck concept, I’m certainly interested to see how he’ll beat the Airflow’s design with this new Chrysler. The new production car will take some cues from the Airflow, no doubt, but Feuell notes it will bring a more “tech-forward” ethos to the mix, per MT‘s report.
Regardless of what it looks like, its fundamental architecture won’t change from what we already know. While the Airflow concept rode on the same RU platform as the Pacifica minivan, the production version will instead use Stellantis’ STLA Large platform. It’s the same architecture that underpins the automaker’s midsize EVs and should accommodate modern design changes, thanks to the flat floor made possible by the battery pack and generally better proportions, since it won’t have a conventional engine. It will also allow 400-volt or 800-volt systems for DC fast charging, as well as a driving range of around 400 miles, according to the automaker’s earlier claims.
Will we still see a new Chrysler in the next year or two?
The original plan, when Chrysler showed us the Airflow concept, was to have a production-ready vehicle by 2025. When you change up the design and the name, though, you have to wonder if that target will stay the same. Stellantis knows there’s a lot of uncertainty in the public at-large around Chrysler’s future, to the point where it showed a production-intent vehicle to dealers.
The brand does indeed still aim to bring out a production EV in 2025. Beyond that, Feuell says, we’ll actually see a “whole new portfolio” by 2028. She does not say how many vehicles will be in that portfolio, though it’s difficult to imagine a leaner lineup than what Chrysler’s had these past few years with the 300 and Pacifica holding down the fort.
We’ll have to wait and see what Chrysler has up its sleeve. The brand does need to bring something truly special to the party if the brand is going to gain back some mind share, so perhaps it’s for the best we won’t see the Airflow as it originally planned. Feuell also insists, whatever the first car’s name is, that it won’t be some alphanumeric designation.