Chrysler LLC is exploring entering a new vehicle segment with a car-based "lifestyle" pickup as an alternative to slow-selling traditional compact trucks.
"What is needed is a lighter-duty, multipurpose vehicle from a lighter, more fuel-efficient car platform that allows the vehicle to be priced significantly different from what your full-size trucks are," Chrysler product development chief Frank Klegon said in an interview. The revelation comes as General Motors Corp. is killing plans for a similar vehicle: the Pontiac G8 ST sport truck. Automakers are looking at replacing small pickups with car-based crossovers sporting truck beds that they hope will be more appealing to consumers. The fate of the small pickup segment could ultimately be decided by proposed changes to corporate average fuel economy standards that could penalize small vehicles. Federal regulators are still discussing how CAFE standards would be measured, but if they are based on the footprint of a vehicle, that would force smaller vehicles to improve their fuel efficiency more dramatically than larger models. Read More in The Detroit News