Chryslers 10 frågor med vd Chris Fuell
Chryslers 10 frågor med vd Chris Fuell In case you missed it, Chrysler is still an event. The V8-powered 300C was a hit when it was revealed last year, selling out in just hours. The Pacifica minivan is a rocking family bus, and there are a few concepts floating around as well. That said, it’s been a minute since we sat down with Chrysler to see what’s new.
CEO Christine Fuell — known as Chris — has been on the job since 2021. To get a sense of where she thinks the company is now and where it’s headed, we sat down with Fuell at last week’s Chicago Auto Show for a -versus- a chat. From jokes about a Pacifica Hellcat to where Chrysler stands on controversial post-purchase subscription services, we take a look at what Fuell and Chrysler are up to.
Read on below for questions and answers.
Autoblog Chryslers 10 frågor med vd Chris Fuell:
What does the future look like for the Pacifica nameplate?
Fuel: The Pacifica is the brand’s hero, and as we look to the future, we want to make sure Chrysler is known not just as a minivan brand, but as a brand that makes minivans. We created the segment almost 40 years ago.
Autoblog Chryslers 10 frågor med vd Chris Fuell:
Is more electrification a path you see for a minivan in the future?
Fuel: It really is a natural progression…migrating to full electrification in the minivan is just a natural next step. We committed to fully electrify the portfolio by 2028, so every new product we launch between now and then will be exclusively a battery-powered propulsion system.
Autoblog: Everyone likes to joke about the Pacifica Hellcat, but with electrification…?
Fuel: You can put some interesting tuning experiences into a minivan. Not saying we would, but it’s possible.
Autoblog: Regarding the Chrysler 300C that sold out immediately, does it give you any pause in the journey to electric to see how raving people are about this really cool V8 sedan?
Fuel: When it comes to the popularity of a V8, when you go down this path of pure mobility, it can create a bit of a dichotomy as to what the brand really stands for. But ultimately the 300 was a very important product for the brand when it was launched in 2005. It set a huge trend for not only design but attracted a lot of new customers to the brand that we hadn’t seen before and so we wanted to send it off in a really respectful celebration.
One of the things that’s really important about brand strategy is that once you set a path and a course, you have to be crystal clear and you have to be focused and committed to staying on that course, so there’s no looking back. We do not guess in which direction we are headed.
Autoblog: Are subscription features something you see in the future for the Chrysler brand?
Fuel: There are definitely opportunities for us to offer certain technologies and services via subscription, but we are very targeted and intentional rather than broad in launching these programs. What we’ve heard from customers is that there are certain features and technologies that they only expect to come with a base price vehicle. They’re pretty skeptical of subscriptions, like, ”You’re just trying to charge me more for something I’m already getting for free today Chryslers 10 frågor med vd Chris Fuell.”
Autoblog: Can you give some examples of potential subscription services?
Fuel: Smart navigation, you know, advanced navigation technology is one if they’re going on a road trip. They may want a more advanced or intelligent navigation system than they have in their vehicle today. One that made sense on a perpetual basis was over-the-air updates, in addition to in-vehicle bug fixes. These are actual improvements in the vehicle, be it in software technology, advanced lighting systems and features, upgrading the infotainment system on demand, and in the kind of things that they would be willing to pay on the subscription to have perpetual access to these updates and availability for upgrade Chryslers 10 frågor med vd Chris Fuell.
Autoblog: It’s a very fine line to tread with people who may be resistant to this.
Fuel: Right, and we want to make sure that when we go that route, we’re really giving the customer value, rather than just charging for something.
Autoblog: How about something like a subscription for heated seats?
Fuel: I didn’t want to bring up the heated seats because, you know, when our competitor launched it, I immediately thought. Wow. I don’t know who will buy it, they will probably get a lot of criticism for it. No. And like I said, it really goes back to my point about what really adds value to the customer. So if they pay for a subscription, they want to know they’re getting something out of it, not just today but in the future.
Autoblog: What do you think will fill Chrysler? What comes?
Fuel: We have a lot of new products in our roadmap. Going forward, the first truly brand new product to launch since the 300 launched in 2005 will be our first battery electric vehicle in 2025, so we’re really excited about that. And we have a fairly rapid succession of additional new products and launches that will appear between then and 2028 as we transition the portfolio to full electrification.
Autoblog: How about between now and 2025?
Fuel: We have this period where we sunset the 300 at the end of this year, and for the most part, for a little over a year, will be a brand with a nameplate with Pacifica. From 2025 onwards, we will enter new market segments that we have not been in for a while. And, you know, really launch products in the sweet spot in the volume segments that will help drive the brand to grow.