Chrysler, BraunAbility and Canine Companions Partner to Drive Independence

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Chrysler brand partners with BraunAbility, world leader in automotive mobility, to introduce a wheelchair-accessible 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, the 2017 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year
  • The BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica features patent-pending AccessAbility™ technology, effectively creating the largest interior space, as well as the widest door opening and side-entry ramp in the industry. These engineering breakthroughs ensure superior maneuverability and improved ease of entry and exit for wheelchair users 
  • To further mark the importance of mobility independence, Chrysler Pacifica and BraunAbility have partnered with Canine Companions for Independence, the largest nonprofit provider of assistance dogs in the United States 
  • Empowered by the BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica and a Canine Companions service dog, many Americans with physical disabilities are able to stay connected to the people and places that matter most to them 
  • Chrysler brand was the first OEM to support the automotive mobility industry and the first in the industry to help ease the financial burden of drivers with physical challenges, offering up to $1,000 cash reimbursement for expenses related to adaptive equipment; BraunAbility pioneered the mobility industry more than 45 years ago with a wheelchair lift installed on a full-size Dodge van 

Chrysler brand and BraunAbility are joining forces to design a wheelchair-accessible Chrysler Pacifica minivan that gives wheelchair users the quality of the world's leading automotive mobility manufacturer with the functionality and bold styling of the industry's most awarded minivan of the year. The new upfitted Chrysler Pacifica will make its world debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday, February 9.

"Whether it's a veteran, a colleague, friend or a family member, there's a good chance we all know someone with a physical disability who needs help getting to the places and events that matter most to them," said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America. "The all-new Chrysler Pacifica is proving to be a lot of things to a lot of people, and now equipped with the BraunAbility technology, it is also the perfect tool to help our customers gain freedom to stay active in their everyday lives."

The most spacious wheelchair-accessible vehicle in the industry, the BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica features patent-pending AccessAbility™ technology, including an aerospace-inspired sliding door extension and the industry's widest side-entry ramp, with rear-axle space innovations and cantilevered seat bases that expand interior cabin space, maximizing space for obstruction-free maneuverability for all sizes and types of wheelchairs. BraunAbility seamlessly integrates with the sophisticated styling of the Chrysler Pacifica. To ensure Chrysler integrity and quality, BraunAbility sources its components through the same suppliers, and crash-tests to the highest automotive standards.

"For over 45 years, BraunAbility and Chrysler have worked together to empower people with physical disabilities, including our founder Ralph Braun, to stay connected to what matters in their lives," stated Nick Gutwein, President and CEO of BraunAbility. "The need for quality mobility solutions is only going to grow, and we are thrilled to align with Chrysler to launch the innovative and uncompromising BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica."

The partnership between Chrysler and BraunAbility includes co-promotion support for the 'Give a Dog a Job Program' benefiting Canine Companions for Independence. Trained service dogs across the country are empowering wheelchair users daily by completing everyday activities, including getting in and out of their wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Hundreds are currently on the waitlist to receive a trained assistance dog, which is provided to a person with a disability free of charge.

"BraunAbility and Chrysler Pacifica are a natural fit as a partner for Canine Companions for Independence," says Canine Companions CEO Paul Mundell. "Canine Companions was the first and now largest provider of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities. The synergy between adapted vehicles like the BraunAbility Pacifica and the intelligence and life-changing skills of a Canine Companions assistance dog are seamlessly giving independence — and giving a dog a job. Seeing a Canine Companions assistance dog working with their partner in and around an adapted vehicle is a testament to the adaptability of our assistance dogs and their ability to enhance independence for a person with a disability."

The BraunAbility Pacifica is the latest in a long line of accessible vehicles engineered between the world leader in mobility and Chrysler. The partnership began more than 45 years ago when BraunAbility founder Ralph Braun, a wheelchair user himself, engineered a hydraulic wheelchair lift and installed it in a full-size Dodge van (a 1972 Dodge B series Ram Van), becoming the world's first commercialized wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

The most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017, the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica reinvents the minivan segment with an unprecedented level of functionality, versatility, technology and bold styling.

About Chrysler Pacifica
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica reinvents the minivan segment with an unprecedented level of functionality, versatility, technology and bold styling. Re-engineered from the ground up on an all-new platform, the Pacifica delivers class-leading gasoline and hybrid powertrains to the minivan segment. With more than 100 available safety and security features, the all-new Uconnect Theater rear seat entertainment system, and a full array of comfort and convenience technologies, the Chrysler Pacifica is a no-compromises minivan ideally suited for today's families and has earned its spot as the most awarded minivan of the year.

The Pacifica Hybrid takes this revolutionary vehicle a step further with its innovative, advanced hybrid powertrain. It's the first electrified vehicle in the minivan segment and achieves 84 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in electric-only mode and 33 miles of all-electric range.

About BraunAbility
BraunAbility is the world's leading manufacturer of wheelchair-accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts in the mobility industry with more than 250 BraunAbility dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Founded nearly 50 years ago by Ralph Braun, the corporation was built on the age-old adage, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Ralph Braun was a young man who used a wheelchair and had no reliable transportation to and from his place of work. He built his first wheelchair-accessible vehicle in 1972 and since then the company has grown into the most trusted name in the mobility industry, bringing independence to millions of individuals across the world.

About Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence provides highly trained assistance dogs free of charge to children, adults and veterans with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has trained more than 5,000 assistance dog teams, with six training centers across the country in Northern California, Southern California, Florida, New York, Ohio and Texas, and over 3,000 volunteers nationwide. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. The result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship. For more information, visit cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK.

About Chrysler Brand
The Chrysler brand has delighted customers with distinctive designs, craftsmanship, intuitive innovation and technology all at an extraordinary value since the company was founded in 1925.

Whether it is the family-room-on-wheels functionality of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan, the groundbreaking, bold design of the Chrysler 300, or the simple elegance and extraordinary driving experience of the Chrysler 200, Chrysler brand vehicles reward the passion, creativity and sense of accomplishment of its owners. Beyond just exceptionally designed vehicles, the Chrysler brand has incorporated thoughtful features into all of its products, such as the innovative center console with pass through storage and sliding cup holders in the Chrysler 200, the industry-exclusive Stow 'n Go seating and storage system on the Chrysler Pacifica and the fuel-saving Fuel Saver Technology in the Chrysler 300.

The Chrysler brand's succession of innovative product introductions continues to solidify the brand's standing as the leader in design, engineering and value. The premium for the Chrysler brand is in the product, not the price.