CHICAGO -- It may have been the most polarizing design at last month's Detroit auto show, but Chrysler hasn't given up on the idea of reinventing the minivan with something as controversial as the 700C concept.
The strong public and media reaction to the 700C pretty much parallels internal discussions at the automaker, said Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Group's design chief.
He said public reaction to the 700C is about 60 percent positive. But there are still many people who wouldn't be caught dead in the 700C if it became a production model.
"The naysayers, I would say about 20 percent of the people, are just scratching their heads, [asking] 'What are you doing?'" said Gilles. "And the other ones in between, they see what we are doing. They realize that whatever we ultimately do may be a little bit less out there than [the 700C]. But they are applauding us for taking the experiment live."
In contrast to the Town & Country's boxlike design, the 700C's styling has been described as swoopy. Styling cues on the concept include a hood that is painted black, a radical-looking B-pillar that slopes to the rear and elongated leaf-shaped side windows.
Gilles did not say whether the next Town & Country will be based on the 700C concept. But he said the automaker has been monitoring the Internet, gauging reaction to the vehicle.
"It is very interesting," he said. "The conversation reflects the same conversation we have had internally about where to take the minivan."
Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne has said that the next-generation Town & Country will attempt to define a new type of minivan. The vehicle is expected in 2013 or 2014.