The Chrysler Airflow is an ironic name to bring back, since releasing the state-of-the-art car in 1934 was disastrous for the company and the brand. The original Airflow was revolutionary in many ways, including scientific axle placement, an attempt at aerodynamic design, synchronized front and rear springs to stop pitching and rolling, popup headlights, engineered weight distribution, unitized body (keeping a weak frame), and the first single-piece curved windshield. Many European companies studied the Airflow and it proved to be a great influence on cars on the other side of the Atlantic. On the downside, it was a sales disaster; customers were turned off both by the unique styling and by competitors’ whisper campaigns.
But what of the new Airflow? Mopar Insiders wrote that it would have black paint with dark bronze accents and interior changes to make it more of a production-intent vehicle. This includes changes to the steering wheel and rear seats. The new concept will be shown on April 13 at 11:45 am. The actual release may come in the early morning of the 13th with the unveiling to follow at the show. Stellpower will be covering the event in person.
The Airflow concept is said to have a range of up to 400 miles with fast charging; the production car is more likely to have a 300-340 mile range. It may be produced in both hybrid and BEV versions.
The arrival of the Airflow dovetails with rumors coming out of the Belvidere (Illinois) plant, which has undergone some layoffs. The state’s governor has promised that corporations won’t pay state employment taxes on new hires for the entire run of a new electric vehicle model; those who have been laid off for over a year will qualify as new hires. That suggests that production of the Airflow and a possible Cherokee replacement on the same platform may actually be starting in roughly one year. The plant will need to be closed for a time to upgrade the paint shop and make other changes to welcome new models. Overall, the 2023 Cherokee is likely to be the last of that run.
Moving the Cherokee to the new battery-electric-compatible platform/architecture may help to reduce competition for it. Jeep is likely to bolster its off-road credentials at the same time, freed of the current model’s CUSW platform.