Fiat-Chrysler Won't Be Calling the Pacifica Hybrid Minivan a 'Plug-In' to Avoid Confusion

Fiat-Chrysler isn't sure that non-Californians know what "plug-in hybrid" means.


In a unique marketing strategy, Chrysler will only advertise its Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid minivan as such in the state of California. And before you ask, yes, the company will still sell the model everywhere in the country, but will instead call it something else in the other 49 states to avoid confusion with a completely electric vehicle. Instead, it'll simply be dubbed a "hybrid" with the plug-in ability pitched as a feature instead.

While that may seem a bit silly, Fiat-Chrysler believes that it's necessary to limit the possibility of people viewing the minivan as a strictly electric vehicle. That can be a definite negative for some buyers, according to Head of Passenger Car Brands Timothy Kuniskis.

"Five years from now ‘plug-in’ will not be scary to anybody," he explained to Bloomberg. "People that buy minivans are not high-tech, performance-oriented people that are interested in how the car works. They’re interested in what the car can do for them. They don’t care how the engine works. Just tell me that it gets great fuel economy and does what I need it to do."

All of this was brought about as Chrysler launches its "Charge Across California Tour," a campaign that allows the public to test drive and experience the well-reviewed Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid.

“People here see it as a benefit and understand that that’s worth more,” Kuniskis said.

California does make up for about half of the nation's EV sales, and it does sell more hybrids than anyone else, but does that make enough of a difference for FCA to diversify its marketing like this? Maybe not.

Oh well, at least Chrysler's off to a better start than Audi.