A Chrysler SUV: Is it possible?

Sergio Marchionne

Chrysler has shrunk to almost a one-trick pony over the past few years, but it could be building an SUV based on the Pacifica, which will hopefully expand its shrinking lineup.

The new crossover will use the same platform as the large people mover, and according to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, could be ready within the next 18 months.

This is crucial given the Subaru Ascent will be hitting the market soon, plus Volkswagen has already confirmed it will have a large crossover to sit alongside the Atlas.

There’s money to be made in crossovers, and if a platform works, then it makes sense for Chrysler to jump on the SUV bandwagon.

Speaking with Motor Trend, Marchionne confirmed that the Chrysler SUV is not just in the works, but well along in the planning stage.

“We’re still playing with that thing,” Marchionne said. “It’s there. We have the car designed and we’re ready to go…The platform is ready, and the plant can take it. We can probably get it up and running in 18 months.”

Marchionne also said that Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) played with various versions of the vehicle, trying a crossover and another MPV style of vehicle, with the crossover getting the green light.

The new vehicle should really have been introduced even earlier to ramp up Chrysler’s sales, but FCA says it wanted to make sure that it was right. If Chrysler does stick to the plan, then the timing should be perfect for the company, but any delays will cause some financial woes. After all, running a showroom on only two vehicles – the 300 saloon and the Pacifica – isn’t exactly ideal.

It’s said that the Windsor assembly plant based in Ontario will be the one tasked with building the new SUV, but what’s even more interesting is the fact that there may even be a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Remember the Jeep Yuntu concept which eventually spawned the the Jeep Grand Commander? It came with a PHEV powertrain, though back then no details were offered. Still, it’s possible that such a driveline could end up in the Chrysler crossover.

The advantage is that for a large vehicle there’s still plenty of torque, while keeping emissions low – Bentley has just done the same thing with its large SUV, the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid.

There’s no word on what the styling will be like, other than wearing the winged badge, but we’ll bring you more details as they come to hand.

About Karl Peskett 435 Articles
A passionate writer, editor and driver, Karl is the go-to man when it comes to four wheels. With stints in television, radio, print and online, Karl has been writing about cars for more than a decade. He drives around 100 vehicles every year and has tested everything from Bugattis to Suzukis. Sometimes on track, sometimes off-road, his focus is on producing objective journalism without fear or favour.

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