UPDATE: New Minivan Unveiled At Autoshow

The Chrysler Pacifica unveiled at the North American International Auto Show 2016. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

The North American International Auto Show opens today for international media.

A highly-anticipated vehicle with a local connection was revealed Monday morning.

Chrysler’s new Pacifica, to be built in Windsor, is a completely redesigned minivan with eight seats. It will be available in the spring. A hybrid version of the Pacifica is expected to be ready later this year.

Some features:

  • Pacifica has nearly 40 new minivan firsts
  • Hybrid: 80 miles per gallon in city driving
  • 360-degree surround view camera
  • Uconnect theater rear seat entertainment, 8.4in display
  • Integrated vacuum
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Handsfree sliding doors

Global president of design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ralph Gilles admits redesigning the minivan was a special treat.

“It’s the first time in a while I’ve had a truly new platform to work with — It’s a big deal to have that much freedom,” he says. “These lines are designed to look timeless. I call it snowdrift. It looks natural, organic. It’s easy on the eyes and I think it’ll age beautifully.”

It’s still unclear how many new jobs are being created at the Windsor Assembly Plant as the new Chrysler Pacifica rolls out. Many of the positions have already been filled.

President and CEO of FCA Canada Reid Bigland says it’s definitely more than 600.

“I guarantee I’ll let you know the exact number in Toronto,” says Bigland, who’s referring to the Canadian International Autoshow in February.

Bigland says it was an obvious choice to pick Windsor for the new minivan.

“Windsor’s always been the home of the minivan. So I think Windsor was always the logical choice to put the minivan in,” he says. “It’s a plant that runs extremely well for us — we’re building 1400 minivans a day.”

He adds Chrysler dominates the minivan segment, holding about 70% of the marketing in Canada.

The Chrysler Town & Country will phase out and be replaced by the Pacifica.

Meanwhile the Dodge Grand Caravan will continue on for the “foreseeable future.”

More than 40 car reveals are expected over the next two days including the next generation Chrysler Fiat mini-van.

“With 90% of those being world-wide debuts. So brand new cars are going to be hitting the stage this year in Detroit,” says public Relations Manager Max Muncey.

The auto show’s Truck of the Year winner is Volvo XC90 and Car of the Year is the Honda Civic.

He says there is something for everyone at the show.

“Auto-makers tend to bring out the best and brightest products for us. What people can plan on seeing is a great mix of cars. Everything from super cars, to full size trucks, to crossovers, to plug-in hybrids,” says Muncey.

Over 5000 international journalists are expected at the show over the next two days. When the North American International Auto Show opens to the public on January 16 over 800,000 will visit the Cobo Centre before the show closes on January 24. People are encouraged to click here for ticket, parking and show information.

— with files from Maureen Revait.