A Soccer Mom’s Dream

I guess Chrysler is counting on a bunch of wealthy soccer moms for this one. Would these ladies really opt for a $50,000 Chrysler minivan, rather than a luxury SUV, like maybe a BMW (starting at 45k), Lexus (35k) , or Mercedes (32k)? Of course, the Pacifica does sport a vacuum cleaner, touch screens and reclining 3rd row seats, but I suspect that if you have enough money for this van, you can probably afford weekly trips to the full-service car wash, and your kids probably already own the latest and greatest hand-held electronics. But we can’t forget about those reclining seats. Being a kid is tough.

To understand why the U.S. auto market isn’t growing, consider a top-of-the-line minivan from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV now costs about $50,000.

With twin second-row touch screens, reclining third-row seats, a vacuum and automated parallel parking, the Chrysler Pacifica packs plenty of features to justify a hefty expense. But this big a price tag puts the prototypical family vehicle out of reach for most Americans.

After U.S. auto sales fell in each of the first three months of the year, the annualized sales pace, adjusted for seasonal trends, probably slowed in April to about 17.1 million, from 17.4 million a year earlier. With marginal buyers beginning to balk due to sticker shock, Ford Motor Co. cautioned last week it’s not going to be able to count on price increases to boost North American profits the rest of this year.

Perhaps Chrysler should work on making their product more reliable, rather than adding more gizmos and higher prices. Ouch!

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