Last January Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said FCA has a “massive” program to develop a plug-in hybrid minivan and he’s now emphasized FCA wants to be first as the company arguably has before.
What many consider one of the first modern conventional “minivans” launched in 1984 as the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager and these vehicles along with the Toyota Van that year led to many followers and a shift in American driving tastes.
Now three decades later, a Chrysler PHEV model could also be a North American origination and this project is moving forward.
“As we retool the plant for production of the next generation minivan, we are also preparing the line with the necessary tooling for production of the PHEV line version,” said FCA spokeswoman Jodi Tinson to the Detroit Free Press.
It’s been said for a while now that Chrysler has had plans to be the first into the plug-in hybrid minivan market, but this time Marchionne himself has gone on the record in regards to the production of these vehicles ahead of other manufacturers.
“The minivan that is coming out of Windsor (Chrysler’s assembly plant) is the first classic example of a massive introduction of hybrid technology,” Marchionne said.
With that being said, there’s still the question of pricing, and the pressure on FCA to price the vehicle low enough to where potential and existing minivan owners would find purchasing the hybrid version alluring.
If Chrysler were to price the plug-in hybrid as its most expensive vehicle, it needs to persuade prospective customers that a purchase would be worthwhile.
“It may be that the Town & Country hybrid serves more to cannibalize sales from traditional power-train versions, more than bringing new customers to the showrooms,” said IHS Automotive analyst Stephanie Brinley.
Time will tell what Chrysler prices the vehicle at and how it will be valued in the eyes of customers.