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Chrysler PT Cruiser: A Winning Combination of Design & Function

4 January 1999

Chrysler PT Cruiser: A Winning Combination of Design & Function

DETROIT, Jan. 3 -- The all-new 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser blends a nostalgic, yet contemporary design with function and technology to create a segment-busting vehicle.

Building on themes illustrated by the two-door Pronto Cruizer and the four-door Chrysler Pronto Cruizer AWD concept cars, the 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser is yet another concept-to-reality story for DaimlerChrysler .

"Chrysler PT Cruiser embodies a design that evokes emotion in people all around the world," said Tom Gale, Executive Vice President Product Strategy, Design and Passenger Car Operations - DaimlerChrysler Corporation. "The distinct personality of the PT Cruiser is unmatched by any vehicle on the road."

From the Outside ...

The Chrysler PT Cruiser's presence on the road and new level of interior flexibility were created by the design philosophy: Form follows function.

"Using our own 'form follows function' design imperative, PT Cruiser establishes a new standard for combining design and function in one vehicle," said Gale. "It's this combination that appeals to both the emotional and rational needs of consumers."

The distinctive side profile of PT Cruiser is created by the unique proportions of the roof line and high belt line that is accented by three side windows. Its exaggerated, separate fender forms are connected by simulated flared side sills that evoke strong heritage but with contemporary forms and materials.

"Chrysler PT Cruiser borrows design cues from classic American automobiles and interprets them with a healthy dose of American fun and freedom," said Bryan Nesbitt, Chrysler PT Cruiser exterior designer.

The Chrysler PT Cruiser's front and rear bumpers provide a sturdy, protective feeling. From the front, a pronounced grille and flush-mounted ellipse headlamps are carried forward from the Pronto Cruizer concept cars, resulting in one of the most unique 'faces' for any higher-volume production car. The high belt line from the side continues around to the rear, using equal proportions of glass and metal on the liftgate. At the rear, Chrysler PT Cruiser's uniquely shaped tail lamps capture the nostalgic spirit of the bullet-shaped tail lamps seen throughout the 1940s. The flared fenders and the inset body give the Chrysler PT Cruiser a confident, sure-footed stance from any angle. The recently introduced Chrysler winged medallion is featured prominently on the front and rear of the vehicle to highlight the brand's heritage.

From the Inside ...

"The interior of Chrysler PT Cruiser blends innovative features and packaging to create a vehicle that has one of the most sophisticated and flexible vehicle designs, regardless of size," said Jeff Godshall, Chrysler PT Cruiser interior designer.

Overall vehicle height combined with unique front and rear seat configurations give Chrysler PT Cruiser the capability to carry five people as a passenger car, or just the driver with the cargo capacity of a light truck. The 65/35 split folding rear seat can be folded forward in two positions or removed completely to reveal a flat load floor. For added efficiency, an available front passenger seat can be folded completely forward for use as a table top for the driver, or to provide enough space to load an eight-foot ladder from the rear of the vehicle.

With the rear seat in the upright position, PT Cruiser has a rear storage compartment with a multi-position shelf panel that can be placed in any one of five positions, or removed entirely. One position converts it into a tabletop for other uses, such as tailgate picnics.

Staying true to the design philosophy of form follows function, the versatility of the interior defines how the vehicle would work, yet the unique exterior design is continued inside the Chrysler PT Cruiser.

"The aesthetics of Chrysler PT Cruiser's interior fulfills the promise of its exterior design, while adding a new level of function for people with active lifestyles," said Godshall.

The symmetrical, browless instrument panel creates an immediate synergy with the Chrysler PT Cruiser's exterior by incorporating color panels that coordinate with the exterior body color. The simplicity of the bright-ringed circular gauges recessed into the instrument panel reflects the heritage of precision craftsmanship. Chrysler PT Cruiser's steering wheel, with its small circular center hub and spokes, give the vehicle a more open, airy appearance. The two-toned spacious interior is enhanced by the Light Neutral and Dark Taupe colors. The finishing touches of chrome door handles and name badges are used both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.