Chrysler has one of the saddest lineups of any automaker. No matter how hard it tries to spread it out to make it seem like there are three vehicles, Chrysler sells only two vehicles: the Pacifica, available in either gas or hybrid, and the 300. Much like the 300 itself, the brand has been left out to pasture while Stellantis throws money at its cash cows: Jeep, Ram, and to a lesser extent Dodge. And now the company expects us to believe the brand will be around long enough to see the Airflow come into production and have an all EV lineup by 2028.
Since FCA’s acquisition of the brand in early 2010s, the company hasn’t seemed to know what it wants to do with the brand. Not long after Chrysler was purchased, news came that the Italian powers that be wanted the brand to go back to its luxury roots and become a full-on Cadillac competitor. “A notch above Lincoln, a notch above Cadillac.” Those were the exact words of Chrysler’s CEO at the time, Peter Fong in late 2009.
Just five years later, executives scrapped that plan. They wanted the brand to go mainstream and compete with the likes of Toyota and Honda. A product plan was laid out. New product was supposed to debut every year through 2018. None of it happened. A compact called the 100 that shared engines with the Dodge Dart was set to debut in 2016. It never came. The Town & Country was supposed to be offered as a plug-in hybrid starting in 2016. That turned out to be the Pacifica. A full-size crossover with a plug-in hybrid option was planned for 2017, and a midsize crossover for 2018.
For whatever reason, those plans were thrown out the window. The 200 and T&C were canned, and for a while, Chrysler was really on top of promoting the Pacifica, including a marketing campaign with Jim Gaffigan. Aside from a refresh in 2015, the 300 has been largely unchanged since its 2011 introduction.
Since then, Stellantis has seemed more invested in Jeep, Ram, and Dodge. For good reason of course. Jeep prints money for the company and Dodge has been on a throw-a-V8 in everything kick for years now. Now, the company is throwing over $35 billion to electrify its brands lineups by 2030.
Want to know how much of that Chrysler is getting? Just take a look at the Airflow. It was originally shown at CES in 2020 before being shown at CES again this year. Now, three months later, at one of the biggest auto shows of the year, there’s still no new product for Chrysler. The Airflow concept shown in New York is half-assed. They gave it a dark paint job and called it “Graphite.” And then they tell us the Airflow isn’t coming for another three years.
If Stellantis wants us to believe that Chrysler will be around long enough to go electric and have new product, it isn’t doing a very good job of convincing us. Every other brand in the Stellantis portfolio has had multiple new products or concepts shown. Chrysler needed new products yesterday. A repainted version of an EV shown three months ago that was teased two years prior to that that isn’t coming for another three years tells me all I need to know about where Stellantis’ priorities lie as far as Chrysler is concerned.