Chrysler Group Celebrates 20 Years of Modern Concept Vehicles
28th May, 2007
“Concept to reality” has become a term that identifies the Chrysler Group design philosophy and many observers are hoping that it will apply to the company’s concept vehicles for 2007.
Chrysler Group’s latest concept vehicles demonstrate a design tradition that has become a strength of the company: an ability to design concepts, which are as relevant as they are innovative.
This approach started with the Frankfurt Motor Show reveal of the Lamborghini-engined, cab forward-styled, four-door Chrysler Portofino concept sedan in 1987. Almost 20 years and more than 100 concepts later, this continuous development has helped Chrysler Group reinvent and maintain its reputation as a car company driven by design and engineering.
Concept vehicles have two major roles for the Chrysler Group: they showcase to management, the media and the public the potential future design direction for Chrysler Group cars and trucks, and they help to attract young designers into its design studios.
Chrysler Group’s concept vehicle programme allows designers to test new colours, features, vehicle size and segments. Concepts can also be showcases for new design cues, which often find their way into production on future vehicles – even if the entire concept vehicle does not.
Importantly, the designs that are revealed to acclaim and accolade at motor shows around the world each year are not just built to look good. That is where the company’s design-to-reality tradition really kicks in.
Not only does Chrysler Group produce concept vehicles that can actually be driven – especially by journalists for feedback and publicity purposes – but many ultimately become production vehicles within a few years of their first reveal. The latest example is the Dodge Challenger. First revealed as a concept at the 2006 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, it was later announced that the Challenger will go into production in 2008.
According to Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Product Design Office, Chrysler Group, “We’ve always said at Chrysler that we don’t just produce concepts for fun. We have proved year after year that our concepts are innovative and relevant.
“Our track record shows that many Chrysler Group concepts, and several of the design features showcased on our concept vehicles, have gone into production,” he added. “While we can’t say yet if any of our 2007 concepts will eventually be seen in our showrooms, they clearly hint at exciting and innovative future design directions that could find their way into our company’s products.”
2007 Concept Vehicles
This year’s group of concept vehicles includes one for each of the Chrysler Group’s brands. The Chrysler Nassau concept explores a new expression of the Chrysler brand. First shown at the 2007 NAIAS, the four-door, four-passenger Nassau luxury coupe is a more emotional and artistic articulation of what it means to be a Chrysler.
The Jeep Trailhawk, which also had its premiere at the 2007 NAIAS, merges the spectrum of the Jeep brand by combining the core off-road features of the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the sophistication of an all-new on-road, open-air concept vehicle, providing a unique and fresh expression for Jeep.
The Dodge Demon is a compact, nimble “roadster with an attitude” – a perfect balance of classic sports car proportion and simplicity blended with modern design and performance. The vehicle is designed to be an affordable Dodge sports car that merges brand cues of bold design and powerful performance with an open-air “fun-to-drive” attitude. This concept had its debut at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show.
Twenty Years of Modern Concept Vehicles
The Chrysler Group has a long history of innovation in design and engineering, going back even as far as the first 1924 Chrysler sedan. In the modern era, since 1988, the company has produced more than 100 concept vehicles in a variety of shapes, sizes, configurations and materials.
Later this year, Chrysler will display the Jeep JT concept truck (see above image) at SEMA 2007, in Las Vegas.
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