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What Should Chrysler Add to Its 2-Car Lineup?

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author photo by Eric Brandt November 2017

Have you taken a look at Chrysler lately? If you aren't in the market for a full-size sedan or a minivan, then it would make perfect sense if you haven't. The brand is in a weird spot right now in that it only offers two distinct models -- both of which are in struggling segments.

First, there's the 300 sedan, which was last updated in 2011 and facelifted in 2015. The Chrysler 300 is a muscular sedan that falls somewhere between mainstream and luxury depending on how you option it. No matter what trim you pick, it's gushing with old-school cool attitude. Think of it as the rich (but not that rich) man's Dodge Charger, with which it shares a platform.

The second model in the current Chrysler lineup is the Pacifica minivan, which was new for the 2017 model year. This is an extraordinary minivan that could be considered the best in its shrinking class. The Pacifica is especially good when you compare it to the long-in-the-tooth Town and Country it replaced.

Also, the Chrysler Pacifica is the only minivan on the market available as a plug-in hybrid. You could argue that the Pacifica Hybrid is its own, third model, but come on -- that doesn't count for obvious reasons. That's like saying the 300 and 300C are different models just because the only major difference is under the hood.

If you go to Chrysler's website right now, you'll see the midsize 200 on there, but that car is on death row. This second-gen Chrysler 200 only survived 3 model years, from 2015 to 2017. Production is wrapped up with no immediate replacement, and now Chrysler is working on purging the inventory.

So here Chrysler is. Chrysler has its name on its own parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but the brand itself only has two models.

The most obvious installment missing from Chrysler dealers is a crossover. Crossovers are red-hot in the luxury segment right now. Go to just about any parking lot in America and you'll be swimming in an ocean of bulbous wagons on stilts marketed as SUVs from the likes of Lexus, Acura and Cadillac -- with lots of letters and numbers in their names. One player missing from that herd is Chrysler. If only Chrysler had a brand under its corporate umbrella that specialized in crossovers and SUVs that won lots of awards and sold like mad.

Oh, wait! It does! How is it possible that Chrysler hasn't borrowed one or several platforms from Jeep and dressed them up in new sheet metal and swankier interiors? There's no doubt in my mind that if and when Chrysler comes out with a crossover, it will almost instantly outsell the 300 and the Pacifica combined.

Other than the most sensible choice of a Pacifica SRT Hellcat (I kid, but I wouldn't put it past FCA to think that's a good business decision), what do you think Chrysler should add to its 2-model lineup? Was it a mistake to discontinue the 200? How about a little sports car based on the Fiat 124 (itself based on the ND Miata) or the Alfa Romeo 4C to get people excited about Chrysler? Perhaps a luxury Ram-based pickup truck? They've already brought back the Pacifica name, how about bringing back the PT Cruiser? Let us know your best and weirdest ideas in the comments below.

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Used 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring Plus
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New 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited
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What Should Chrysler Add to Its 2-Car Lineup? - Autotrader