Chrysler Is One of the Few Automakers Left Not Offering an SUV
In 2019, SUV and pickup sales made up about 70% of the total U.S. market. That’s such a huge percentage that you’d assume that all auto manufacturers would want to sell SUVs. It might be a surprise then that Chrysler does not currently offer an SUV.
Chrysler’s three current models
Chrysler presently offers just three models: a sedan and two minivans. These are the 300 sedan and the Pacifica and Voyager minivans. Consumer Reports points out that Chrysler vehicles are known for their “convenient storage spaces, intuitive controls, and the easy-to-use Uconnect touch-screen infotainment system.” However, the minivans are not known for their reliability.
Even these three remaining Chrysler models have struggled recently, and Chrysler saw sales drop by 23% in 2019, while sales of its parent company, FCA, dropped just 1%, according to The Truth About Cars.
The Voyager minivan was new for 2019, but the Pacifica dropped 17% and the 300 sedan declined 37%. However, with so few minivan models on the market, Chrysler has an edge with two.
Chrysler’s past SUV
Chrysler did previously have one SUV that it offered more than a decade ago. From model year 2007 to 2009, Chrysler sold the Aspen SUV, which was a full-size SUV that could seat eight people. Similar to the Dodge Durango’s design at the time, Consumer Reports found the Aspen to have “clumsy” handling and an average ride.
The Chrysler Aspen had two engine options and a hybrid version. The base one was a 4.7-liter V8, and there was an optional 5.7-liter V8 as well. It was available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, although the hybrid version was only available with all-wheel drive.
The hybrid versions of the Chrysler Aspen SUV and similar hybrid Dodge Durango were discontinued in 2008 after just a few months in production. At the time, demand for full-size SUVs had declined, and the plant where they were manufactured in Delaware was closed.
What other companies sell
The Chrysler brand may not sell SUVs today, but its sibling brands certainly do. Chrysler is a part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles company, one of the big three automotive manufacturers in the United States, along with Ford and General Motors. In addition to Chrysler, FCA also owns Dodge, Jeep, Ram trucks, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, and Abarth.
According to the New York Times, about 90% of Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales in 2019 were from SUV and pickup sales, making up about 60% of global sales. With nine brands in the FCA family, Jeep and Ram brought in 52% of global sales in 2019. The Jeep brand is made up almost entirely of SUVs along with one truck, while Ram makes only trucks and vans. The Fiat brand produces compact cars and compact SUVs.
General Motors and Ford also make most of their U.S. sales from SUVs and pickup trucks. GM brings in 84% of sales from SUVs and pickups, while Ford does 83%. It’s important also to note that crossovers have been a growing segment of the market, exploding from less than 4% of the market in 2000 to almost 40% in 2018.
This growth has cut into sales of both full-size SUVs and sedans. Despite the growth of crossovers, the full-size Dodge Durango, which is now similar to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, is still sold. Arriving for sale in 2005, it has sold more than 60,000 units each year since 2013.