At the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show, Chrysler opened a new chapter in its history with the introduction of the Portofino Concept (above). The Portofino introduced the world to Chrysler's cab-forward design philosophy that would dominate its next generation of mainstream cars. In the two decades since, Chrysler has continued to crank out at least 3-5 new concepts every year, some making their debut in Detroit every January, while the rest were revealed in locations like Geneva, Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo.
In that time, the team from Auburn Hills has created some truly inspired vehicles and others that are not so much. Some of the design details have made it into production, while some vehicles have been moved straight to the assembly line such as the Viper, Prowler, first-generation Neon and the upcoming Challenger. Other concepts that people clamored for such as the Plymouth Pronto Spyder and Dodge Copperhead did the show circuit and then faded away. Then again, some concepts that made it to production might have been better left in the museum like the Crossfire. One of the consistent themes that has popped up every couple of years is a flagship for Chrysler, and after some gorgeous models like the Atlantic Coupe and the Chronos have all gone unbuilt, it appears one is getting called up for active duty on dealer lots. We've learned that the Imperial sedan will start rolling off the line in a couple of years. Regardless of your opinion of any individual Chrysler concept, the debut of new ones are always highly anticipated at auto shows, and they are rarely dull.
Chrysler Group Celebrates 20 Years of Modern Concept Vehicles
* Chrysler Group's design tradition has become a key strength of the company
* More than 100 concept vehicles have been developed since 1988
* Chrysler Nassau, Jeep® Trailhawk and Dodge Demon are the most recent concepts
Auburn Hills, Mich., May 25, 2007 - "Concept to reality" has become a term that epitomizes 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 clearly demonstrate a design tradition that has become a key strength of the company: an ability to design the coolest-of-cool 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 the best young designers in the world into its design studios.
Chrysler Group's concept vehicle program allows designers to test new colors, 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 auto 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 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. Combining refinement, function and style, 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 refined 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 created more than 100 concept vehicles in a variety of shapes, sizes, configurations and materials.
Dodge Dakota Sport V-8
Dodge Viper RT/10
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Jeep Z5 Concept 1
Plymouth Voyager III
Dodge Daytona RT
Jeep Wagoneer 2000
Dodge Ram VTS
Dodge Viper GTS Coupe
Eagle Vision Aerie
Plymouth Back Pack
Chrysler Composite Concept Vehicle
Dodge Intrepid ESX
Jeep Cherokee Casablanca
Jeep Wrangler Tabasco
Jeep Wrangler Ultimate Rescue
Dodge Big Red Truck
Dodge Intrepid ESX2
Plymouth Pronto Cruiser
Plymouth Pronto Spyder
Dodge Charger R/T
Dodge Power Wagon
Chrysler 300 Hemi® C
Chrysler GT Cruiser
Chrysler Panel Cruiser
Dodge MAXX cab
Dodge Neon SRT
Dodge Viper GTS/R
Dodge Super8 Hemi
Chrysler California Cruiser
Chrysler ME Four-Twelve
Dodge Sling Shot