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03/04 Chrysler Pacifica Concept

In the Pacifica concept, Chrysler believes it has another "segment buster" on its hands, like the minivan in 1983 and the PT Cruiser in 2001. The six-passenger Pacifica features three rows of seats, with the first two rows offering "first-class" heated bucket seats. Getting in is easy since the low step-in height requires that passengers simply "step across" into the vehicle. Power comes from a 3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V-6 engine that is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick. On-demand all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive with traction control will be offered. In addition, Pacifica features four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, side curtain airbags, a power liftgate, adjustable pedals, and a satellite radio. Chrysler will unveil a production version later this year, with production beginning in early 2003 as a 2004 model.

To me, this is basically a lowered X5. Nonetheless, Chrysler wants to be different and is moving towards a unique styling of luxury.

 

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Motorist Migration to Sell Out Chrysler Pacifica

Chrysler Group is counting on the annual motorist migration to make the ’04 Chrysler Pacifica a success

"Each year 2.7 million people in cars, vans, and SUVs migrate out of those vehicles into another vehicle in that trio by flipping from one segment to another," says Tom Marinelli, vice president-Chrysler division.

"If we get just 4% of those 2.7 million, we'll sell out Pacifica," he says of planned production of 100,000 units.

The Windsor Assembly Plant, in Windsor, Ont., Canada, that also assembles minivans, can shift some production to St. Louis to boost Pacifica output to 125,000 if demand warrants.

To go any higher would require study of potential bottlenecks in the supply chain, says Mike Donoughe, vice president-family vehicle product team.

"We're going to sell our 10 millionth minivan within the next few months and with that owner base as well as the Grand Cherokee owner base (just under 3 million people) we have a huge base of potential Pacifica buyers," says Gary Dilts, Chrysler Group senior vice president-sales.

Here's how Marinelli sees the movement: Of the 3.3 million people who own SUVs, 22% will switch to a minivan while 14% will opt into a car; of the 1.3 million who own a minivan, 3% will move into an SUV while 17% will switch to a car; and of the 7.6 million who own a car, 6% will migrate to a minivan and 15% to an SUV.

This suggests the Pacifica will cannibalize Chrysler minivan and Jeep Grand Cherokee sales.

Marinelli replies that either way, Chrysler rings up the sale. “Besides, when we researched consumers in clinics, only 5% said they saw Pacifica as a rival to the minivan," he says.

"We don't see Pacifica as a predator within our own lineup,” says Dilts. “We see it as a savior. People who now have had their second or third Grand Cherokee or second or third minivan who feel it's time for a change into something different will have Pacifica as a choice."

It keeps the buyer who is tired of a minivan from leaving the brand altogether, in search of a luxury cross/utility vehicle such as a Lexus RX 300 or Acura MDX, explains Ann Fandozzi, director-Chrysler marketing and family vehicle product planning.

As for launching a new vehicle into a market that’s heavily incentivized, Chrysler President and CEO Dieter Zetsche says the Pacifica is one more step in the pursuit of building brand equity that will, in the long term, enable the auto maker to wean itself from high incentives.

Pacifica will follow the pattern of recent newcomers, the PT Cruiser, Jeep Liberty and Dodge Ram pickup, which were able to avoid incentives for varying lengths of time after introduction. And the most-recent launch, the Ram heavy duty, is being sold without incentives.

“So we are optimistic that we can accomplish the same with Pacifica,” says Zetsche, adding, “I’m not saying that in year five we would sell the Pacifica without incentives.”

The Pacifica, along with the Crossfire sports car due mid-year, are designed to elevate the Chrysler brand to the middle of the premium segment, says Mike Donoughe, vice president-family vehicle product team.

The Chrysler brand is expected to grow 40% to 750,000 units by the end of 2004, up from 530,454 in 2002, says Donoughe.

Pacifica would account for 100,000-125,000 units. Crossfire will only sell 11,000 in the first year, but that number grows to 20,000 annually in the first full year, with 85% for the North American market.

The Chrysler PT Cruiser sold 121,391 units to the end of October, and could exceed 140,000 by year-end, according to Ward’s data. Chrysler minivans (Town & Country and Voyager) sales total 141,238 for the first 10 months, on pace to hit 161,000.

Chrysler Sebring (sedan, coupe and convertible) U.S. sales totaled 101,548 through October, on their way to about 115,000 by year-end.

The current large sedans, Chrysler Concorde, 300M and some LHS, sold 55,296 to the end of October, tracking to about 65,000 by the end of 2002. The redesigned next generation, coming as ’04 ½ models, are expected to see a volume surge



wardsauto
 

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Preliminary Specifications for the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica:

Dimensions:
Wheelbase: 116.3"
Overall length: 198.9"
Overall width (max): 79.2"
Overall height: 66.5"
Front overhang: 40.1"
Rear overhang: 42.5"
Front track: 66.0"
Rear track: 66.0"
Powertrain:
Engine: 3.5-litre V-6 24-valve
Transmission: All-wheel drive with AutoStick®
Suspension:
Front: MacPherson, Independent
Rear: Five link, independent
Load-levelling shock absorbers
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 17-inch Cast Aluminum
Tires: Michelin P235/65R1
 

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Chrysler Pacifica "sports tourer" to begin at $31,000

What’s a “sports tourer?”
We’re not sure, but we know it will cost between $31,230 and $32,980, including freight and a badge that reads Chrysler Pacifica. We also know it will be available in early spring.

Chrysler said its Pacifica, which boasts three rows of seating and a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 powerplant, is a “sports tourer” by definition rather than a sport/utility or station wagon. The vehicle is on a new platform which pulls its rear suspension from Mercedes-Benz E-class and styling cues from anything between minivans and Dodge’s forthcoming Magnum wagon. AutoWeek’s sister publication, Automotive News, classifies the vehicle as a “upscale near-luxury car,” competing with similar cars such as the Volvo Cross Country and Infiniti FX45. The newsweekly has a separate designation for sport/utilities.

No matter the vehicle's official designation, the Pacifica comes with a pair of drivetrain options, front-wheel priced at $31k and all-wheel priced at $33k. Other features include three rows of curtain airbags, 17-inch wheels and optional toys such as a DVD player, satellite radio, power lift-gate and heated seats in the second row.

Chrysler will soon announce pricing on the Crossfire coupe, which goes on sale later this year and compliments Chrysler's updated vehicle line, according to company officials.
 
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