Our own Mr. Posky waxed at length yesterday about the Stellantis plan to keep their hands in customers’ pockets long after they’ve driven off the lot. Go read his take, if you haven’t already. Meanwhile, the company took care on Software Day to occasionally focus on an upcoming product – the Chrysler Airflow.
If you recognize that name from the depths of automotive history, please go ahead and give yourself a gold Pentastar. It was a full-size machine produced by Chrysler in the ‘30s, and arguably one of (if not the) first to incorporate streamlining as a method of dealing with wind resistance at speed. Its oddball-for-the-time shape did it no favors and the Airflow was only in showrooms for about five years. Surely Chrysler hopes for a better batting average this time around.
The new Airflow shown yesterday is an EV (because of course it is) wearing Chrysler-ish clothes and appearing to be about the same size as the Ford Mach-E. It’s technically a concept car but a few of the details – real sideview mirrors and realistic lighting – provide clues that this vehicle may be a lot closer to production than we think. It’ll surely ride on a variant of the STLA Medium platform, one of several structures the company showed during its EV day earlier this year.
At that time, the suits told us that vehicles built on the STLA Medium bones could potentially pack over 400 miles of driving range; if true, that will set it up for success against tough competition like the Mach-E and Model Y. It’s worth noting that, during yesterday’s presentation, a screen inside the Airflow was shown to display a readout of horsepower during a simulated acceleration run, with the CGI digit easily eclipsing the 300 mark. That amount of horses would also compare favorably to certain trims of the competition mentioned above.
Speaking of, there’s no shortage of screens inside the Airflow, with units upfront for driver and passenger, plus a couple in the center stack for infotainment purposes and ventilation. In this, it is not unlike the massive Grand Wagoneer, which has four screens in the front row plus three more in the aft compartment. Someone at Stellantis must have a brother working at a touchscreen factory.
With each of the 14 Stellantis brands generously given approximately a decade to prove their worth, a machine like the Airflow could be just the ticket to bolstering Chrysler’s lean showroom. Since the crew at Dodge are busy making electric muscle cars and Jeep is fiddling with off-road EVs, the upmarket EV crossover segment could be the play that saves Chrysler’s bacon.
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