Chrysler new minivan

Chrysler s new minivan of the future - Jan. 11, 2016

The All-new 2017 #Chrysler #Pacifica: great for your #DadBrand.

— Chrysler (@Chrysler)

“We try to challenge the paradigm of the minivan, ” Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer of Fiat Chrysler, told “The idea was to challenge conventions. Obviously, it’s not a car for a man or a woman, it’s a car for families. We thought a dad should deliver the family pitch. It’s unconventional and unexpected.”

Initial feedback from Chrysler’s sales force and dealers has been very positive, Francois added.

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The advertising flurry continued to grow with Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBCUniversal, which struck an advertising deal with Fiat Chrysler that brings Pacifica commercials to NBC programming such as the “Today” show. The partnership also calls for new ads featuring “Late Night” host Seth Meyers and his dog. The ads include scenes from the upcoming film, “The Secret Life of Pets.”

Celebrate #NationalPetDay with @Chrysler, @PetsMovie and @LateNightSeth! #PacificaPetsSweepstakes #ad

— USA Network (@USA_Network)

'Private Jet'

Chrysler has doubled down on the characteristics that have made minivans a popular choice for families. The Pacifica has plenty of storage and a roomy interior, including seats that can be folded flat or removed. It sports premium features like heated second-row seats, a panoramic sunroof and a hands-free liftgate and sliding doors. There’s also a built-in vacuum.

Technology is a focal point, too. One option adds 10-inch touch screens mounted on the back of each front-row seat. Chrysler also equipped the Pacifica with various driver assists like automatic parking and cameras that provide a 360-degree view.

The Pacifica, which seats seven or eight, will start at $28, 595.

“When you look at it objectively, minivans are probably the best family vehicle out there. There are a lot of rational advantages, ” said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and market analyst at Kelley Blue Book. He highlighted the low step-in height and large cargo capacity, among other features.

“There will always be a market for minivans. It’s one of most versatile vehicles out there, ” Nerad added.

With luxurious touches inside the Pacifica, Chrysler is attempting to replicate the feel of a private jet.

“We want to deliver a private jet experience to the shopper who primarily shops for more than need. We want to overdeliver, ” Francois said.

Is the Pacifica a Winner?

Fiat Chrysler hopes to reverse a slide in minivan sales over the last decade. With sales of 190, 989 Chrysler and Dodge minivans in 2015, the company sold fewer than half the number of units delivered in 2005.

Still, the minivan is a historically important vehicle for Fiat Chrysler. The Chrysler brand created the minivan over three decades ago, and the company continues to outsell its competitors. Combined sales of the Town & Country and Grand Caravan last year beat the Toyota Sienna, Fiat Chrysler’s nearest competitor, by 53, 400 units.

“We invented the minivan 33 years ago, so it was time to reinvent it and own the category again, ” Francois said.

The widespread marketing efforts signal that Fiat Chrysler sees the Pacifica—the company’s first built-from-scratch vehicle since the official merger—as a critical launch. Outside the Fiat Chrysler family, the only competing minivans in the U.S. are the Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Mazda 5 and Nissan Quest. If Fiat Chrysler can convince moms and dads of the minivan’s merits, the Pacifica could be a big winner with a concentrated ad investment at its disposal.

“They’re dropping two well-known names that have a lot of cache, ” Nerad said, referring to the Town & Country and Grand Caravan. “To do that, you must think that you can move the needle, and I think they probably can.”

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