It's been 10 years since Chrysler
Corporation introduced a concept car at a European auto show. But when the Geneva Motor
Show opens next month, showgoers could be looking into the company's future product window
for Europe and around the world.
On March 3, Chrysler will unveil the Chrysler Pronto Cruizer, its first concept car built
specifically for a European show since the Portofino - the company's first iteration of
its famed cab-forward design -- introduced at Frankfurt in 1987.
"The Pronto Cruizer is a distinctive and unique combination of the best of American
passion for automobiles and the most desired elements of European dynamics and
efficiency," said Mr Tom Gale, Executive Vice President of Product Strategy, Design
and External Affairs.
"It has the same extreme sense of American spirit and daring like Viper and Prowler,
but in a package that could potentially be developed for a much broader market. We think
it showcases Chrysler's growing expertise in melding our signature American design to
global use and needs," Mr Gale said.
This "American" approach is reflected in Pronto Cruizer's exterior and interior
design themes inspired by 1940s American Art Deco design. The vehicle takes that classic
appeal and refines it in a contemporary form with cutting edge styling, efficient
packaging, precision craftsmanship and a heavy dose of American fun and freedom.
Furthermore, the Pronto Cruizer mates these cues with a vehicle that features an
aggressive, fun-to-drive ride and handling package, and a highly efficient 1.6-litre
petrol engine being developed as part of the Chrysler/BMW joint venture.
The 1.6-litre engine, to be built in Brazil, produces 86kW \@ 5600 rpm and 153 Nm \@ 4400
rpm. The engine is mated to the five-speed manual transmission from the Neon American Club
Racing package, a high performance
option package offered to American racing enthusiasts participating in races sanctioned by
the Sports Car Club of America.
The three-door Aztec Yellow coupe has an exaggerated grille and fenders, drawing immediate
comparisons with the Prowler. Running boards, which flow smoothly into the fenders, are
reminiscent of the vehicle architecture of the 1940s.
The Pronto Cruizer's aggressive stance, combined with the vehicle's flowing lines, give
the appearance of movement, even when stationary. Its 18-inch front and 19-inch rear
wheels and tyres give Pronto Cruizer a wedge-like shape that ''wants to pounce.
The roll-back fabric top, with a carbon fibre header, is reminiscent of past Chrysler
concept cars, including the Chrysler Composite Concept Vehicle (CCV) and the Plymouth
Inside, the Pronto Cruizer's materials, colour, space and symbols comprise an interior
that is irreverent, yet highly capable. The interior volume is larger than that of a
production Neon, yet its exterior length is considerably shorter. Both vehicles share the
same 2642mm wheelbase, providing an abundance of space for passengers.
The interior package incorporates body colour accents found in classic American hot rods,
similar to the Prowler. An aluminium finish defines all of the functional interior areas
like the instrument cluster, armrest, centre stack, door handles, steering wheel and
gearshift knob and plate. The interior is designed with an eye for simplicity, but still
evokes a feeling of precision craftsmanship.
Consistent with its use on exterior components, carbon fibre accents the door map pockets
and textures the leather on front and rear seats.
The instrument cluster face is coloured a pale blue which illuminates to a deeper blue
using electra-luminescent technology. The combination is easy on the eyes during day and
The Pronto Cruizer also offers a
navigation system by Alpine in its centre stack that is connected with the radio and
heating, ventilation and air conditioning functions. Each unit is displayed through the
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT), but is operated by its own knobs and buttons, promoting a
fingertip-free CRT screen.
Other unique details on the Pronto Cruizer are the retro-influenced three-spoke steering
wheel with chrome accents, floor mats with aluminium accent rub strips, a storage area
behind the rear seat in the hatch compartment, an aluminium grab handle mounted on the
front seats for easier seat adjustment, and an embroidered Chrysler winged-badge on the
steering wheel and rear-seat division.
The aluminium foot pedals and shift knob with expressive "happy faces" are an
unexpected final touch on a vehicle that embodies Chrysler's signature American design
with international appeal.