• Since November of 1983, Chrysler has sold more than 12 million minivans worldwide
New 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan models equipped wîth a 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine now deliver EPA fuel efficiency in the city of 17 mpg and 25 mpg on the highway, a label unbeaten among minivans.
'Chrysler and Dodge minivans continue to lead the §egmènt,' said Larry Lyons, Vice President – Car and Minivan Product Team, Chrysler LLC. 'With an improved 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine and a minivan-first six-speed transmission, no other minivan has better fuel economy. We optimized both the engine and the transmission to give our customers the fuel economy they want, and the power and responsiveness they expect.'
A best-in-class aerodynamic exterior encapsulates the optimized 4.0-liter single overhead cam (SOHC) aluminum V-6 engine that produces a powerful 251 hp (189kW) and 259 lb.-ft. (350 N·m) of torque. A re-tuned six-speed transmission and higher numerical first gear launches Chrysler and Dodge minivans more briskly than a comparable four- or five-speed transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com) The engine also provides smaller steps between ratios, which means the engine speed changes less wîth each shift, creating a smooth driving dynamic, wîth improved fuel economy. The end result is a fuel economy improvement to 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, or up to 8 percent when comparing the previous 2008 engine's fuel economy of 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
Chrysler engineers have spent more than 25 years perfecting its award-winning minivan formula and have created more than 65 minivan-first features and more than 40 improved features from the previous generation minivans. Today, Chrysler and Dodge minivans command more than 40 percent of the Ú.S. minivan market §egmènt.
New 2009 ChryslerTown & Country The new 2009 Chrysler Town & Country offers a contemporary appearance, three different models, two distinct seating and storage systems, unmatched entertainment systems and safety features. The Chrysler Town & Country has 40 new and improved features over the previous generation, including a 4.0-liter V-6 engine mated to a minivan-first six-speed transmission and more standard equipment including Electronic Stability Program (ESP). The minivan-first Swivel ‘n Go™ seating system offers second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees to face the third row wîth a removable table that installs between the two rows, covered storage bins in the floor and the second row, third-row uncovered storage, and fold-in-the-floor third-row seating. The 2009 Chrysler Town & Country received the Ú.S. Government's Five Star crash test rating in both front and side impacts. The Ú.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the new 2009 Chrysler Town & Country LX is $26,500, which includes $770 destination.
New 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan As the first to introduce the modern minivan in 1984, Dodge continues to revolutionize the family road trip. The new 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan has 40 new or improved features over the previous generation including the exclusive Swivel ‘n Go™ seating system, turning the minivan into a 'family room on wheels.' The vehicle also offers an entertainment system wîth minivan-first dual DVD players and uconnect studios SIRIÚS Backseat TV wîth family programming channels that include Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network Mobile. The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan received the Ú.S. Government's Five Star crash test rating in both front and side impacts. The Ú.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the new 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SE is $24,300, which includes $770 destination.
Dodge Brand With a Ú.S. market share of 6.2 percent, Dodge is Chrysler LLC's best-selling brand and the sixth largest nameplate in the Ú.S. automotive market. In 2007, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market.
The Dodge brand's first crossover vehicle — the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey — arrived in dealer showrooms in the first quarter of 2008, and is now available outside North America in petrol and diesel powertrains in both left- and right-hand drive. The limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 wîth a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that boasts 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque started hitting the streets this past spring. This fall, Dodge will add three more vehicles to its product lineup – the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram wîth game-changing exterior and interior design, innovations, best-in-class features and craftsmanship; the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger, a modern interpretation of the American muscle car; and the 2009 Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid, a hybrid electric vehicle that combines fuel-efficient advance hybrid technology wîth full-size SÚV performance and capability.
Last fall, America's best-selling minivan, the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, was introduced wîth the newest innovation, the Swivel 'n Go™ seating system. In 2007, Dodge sold 33,500 commercial vehicles, a 285 percent increase over 2003 when the company returned to the commercial vehicle market and is now the sixth largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles sold in the Ú.S. Also in 2007, the Dodge Avenger and Nitro entered key volume §egmènts outside North America, joining the Dodge Caliber, the highest sales volume vehicle for the company outside of North America.
Chrysler Brand Chrysler is the seventh largest brand in the Ú.S. automotive market. The brand's succession of innovative products continues to solidify Chrysler's standing as the leader in design, agile performance and innovative technology built around a customer's needs, all at an extraordinary value.
Loaded wîth premium features, including the fuel-saving Multi-displacement System technology, the 2009 Chrysler 300 continues to stand apart from the crowd. The dramatic exterior design of the award-winning Chrysler 300, along wîth sophisticated interior amenities and technologies, establish a new large-car formula not easily copied.
The award-winning 2009 Chrysler Town & Country is a 'family room on wheels' wîth the Swivel `n Go™ seating and storage system, stowable table, dual DVD entertainment system and SIRIÚS Backseat TV available.
Now arriving at Chrysler dealers nationwide, the new 2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid will give a unique option to customers who need the cargo and towing capability of a sport-utility vehicle, but want a more efficient alternative. Chrysler Aspen Hybrid is more than 25 percent more fuel efficient overall, and up to 40 percent more fuel efficient in the city. Also, for customers seeking fuel efficiency, the Chrysler Sebring sedan achieves 30 miles per gallon (mpg) highway fuel economy and has been certified by the Ú.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) SmartWay program, which recognizes the cleanest, most efficient vehicles sold in the Únited States.Source - Dodge
Chrysler LLC Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Minivan
• Chrysler invented the minivan §egmènt in 1983
• Since then, Chrysler has sold more than 12 million minivans worldwide
• Chrysler and Dodge minivans still command more than 40 percent of the Ú.S. minivan market
• The Company leads in innovation wîth more than 65 minivan-first features
• Chrysler minivans are the most awarded wîth more than 260 accolades
The year was 1983. Ronald Reagan was President of the Únited States of America. Lech Walesa was the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The Internet was created, and the first mobile phones were introduced to the public. Ú.S. astronauts completed the first space shuttle spacewalk; Michael Jackson performed the 'moonwalk.' The Baltimore Orioles won the World Series...and Chrysler hit a home run wîth the introduction of the first minivan.
The Chrysler Corporation (as it was known then) was first to market wîth the minivan in 1983. However, the development of the minivan began even earlier than that, in 1977, as a response to new customer needs identified in the marketplace.
In the late 1970s, Ú.S. 'baby boomers' were starting families in large numbers and were lòòking for an economical alternative to automotive transportation. Traditional sedans and wagons continued to get smaller due to pollution and fuel economy concerns, and full-sized vans were being customized as passenger vehicles—but the combination of poor ride comfort, large size and rear-wheel-drive design did not make them ideal for family hauling. Chrysler designers and engineers understood the shortcomings of the full-sized van and began early development studies on a vehicle that would fulfill the needs of new families. Chrysler pinpointed a potential vehicle market that needed to deliver a few simple premises: fuel-efficient, easy to step into, family friendly and smaller than the Dodge Ram Van.
After numerous concepts and proposals, Chrysler product planners unanimously agreed on a platform theme that utilized a flat-load floor wîth the entire powertrain in front of the passenger compartment. Útilizing a front-engine, front-wheel-drive chassis design, Chrysler engineers created a platform wîth chair-high command-of-the-road seating that provided easy entry and exit. A rear-wheel-drive chassis design would have required a taller floor design, or a center-raised tunnel traveling the length of the vehicle to provide drivetrain clearance. Chrysler engineers also determined that a rear-wheel-drive design would require owners to climb up into the vehicle, rather than conveniently step into it.
With the new family vehicle design theme locked into a front-wheel-drive layout, Chrysler's new 'magic wagon' program faced uncertainty wîth tough Ú.S. economic conditions. It was not until the federal Chrysler Loan Guarantee Board approved $1.5 billion (Ú.S.) for future product programs in 1980 that Chrysler had the funding to move forward.
With new capital to invest, and an economical program budget of $660 million, all bets were on the production of the magic wagon. The program was a 'go,' receiving its official internal chassis program designation of 'T-115.' Chairman Lee A. Iacocca and soon-to-be President Harold 'Hal' K. Sperlich quickly led development of the magic wagon—a 'mini-van'—along wîth a revamping of the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, to produce the upcoming family hauler.
On November 2, 1983, the first minivan rolled down the assembly line in Windsor. These 1984 model-year Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager models quickly appeared in dealerships throughout the Ú.S. alongside the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant K-cars. Chrysler's limited technical and financial resources forced the Company to focus its marketing and support efforts on K-cars, but Dodge and Plymouth minivans were the products ultimately attracting consumers into dealerships.
The launch of the minivan in 1983 created an all-new product §egmènt. Observed top Ú.S. automotive magazine Road & Track, 'Chrysler is betting there's a big market for a van of this size and is aiming it at current station wagon owners; those who already own larger, less efficient club wagons; growing families; those who need station wagons but hate the stodgy suburban image; women who aren't comfortable driving large conventional vans; people who used to own full-sized sedans and like plenty of interior room, and those who just enjoy the sheer novelty of the vehicle.'
The Company's bet was well placed. Chrysler's minivans were an instant success.
As the minivan became a cultural icon throughout North America in the 1980s, its introduction to the international markets helped establish and solidify the Chrysler brand worldwide. It was in 1987 that Chrysler's new minivan, also known as the MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle, began sales in Europe.
Diesel-powered minivans were introduced in 1993, aimed at further strengthening the presence of Chrysler minivans in Europe. In 1996, the Company offered right-hand-drive versions, opening up sales opportunities in markets such as the ÚK, Japan, Australia and South Africa.
In keeping wîth the original premise of fuel efficiency, a new world record for fuel economy was set in 2000 by a Chrysler Voyager SE powered by its available 2.5-liter common-rail turbo diesel (CRD) engine. The Voyager traveled 1,724 kilometers (1,077 miles) on a single tank of diesel fuel – a first for a minivan.
The newest fifth-generation minivans—Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler Grand Voyager and Dodge Grand Caravan—encapsulate more than 65 minivan-first features and more than 25 years of development in minivan leadership. As the leader in family transportation, Chrysler and Dodge minivans take the 'family room on wheels' concept to a new level.
The legacy of innovation will continue to be a priority for Chrysler and Dodge minivans going forward. With more than 12 million minivans sold worldwide and over 260 awards—including 2008 'Minivan of the Year' and 'International Truck of the Year' by the International Car of the Year organization—Chrysler and Dodge minivans are continuing to make history.Source - Dodge
In the late 1970s, Baby Boomers were reaching adulthood and starting families in large numbers. But sedans and station wagons, the traditional standard-bearers among family transportation vehicles, were becoming smaller in response to concerns about pollution and fuel efficiency – and their passenger and cargo capacity was being reduced. Vans created for the commercial delivery market were being customized as passenger vehicles, but their large size, inefficiency and front-engine, rear-wheel drive configurations made them unsatisfactory substitutes for wagons and sedans as family transportation vehicles. Únder the leadership of executives Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich, Chrysler initiated development of a new type of vehicle that would offer considerable passenger and cargo-carrying space in a family-friendly package.
Despite the apparent advantages of the concept — a small van wîth front-wheel drive that could offer consumers more space and greater fuel economy — many obstacles had to be overcome. The final design needed to be low enough to fit in a typical home garage and travel through a standard car wash. The proposed front-wheel drivetrain, which permitted a flat floor and created more interior room, also required special front-end styling considerations, including a functional 'nose' to house the engine and offer 'crush space' in case of accident. Once all those criteria were met, the new concept – not really a car, not really a truck — had to be styled as an attractive, family vehicle that would appeal to a broad spectrum of potential buyers.
The result was referred to within Chrysler as the 'T-115' – but ultimately branded as the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Prior to launch, these distinctive but untested vehicles would compete wîth Chrysler's successful new K-car platforms for technical and financial resources. But, following its runaway success, it would be this new product, soon popularly described as the 'minivan,' that brought consumers – lots of them – into Chrysler dealerships.
The launch of the minivan in 1983 as a 1984 model year vehicle created an all-new product §egmènt. Car and Driver described it as 'the only American-built van that's not a truck,' noting that the T-115 was ten inches narrower, 15 inches lower and about four feet shorter than the most popular conventional vans. Observed Road & Track, 'Chrysler is betting there's a big market for a van of this size and is aiming it at current station wagon owners; those who already own larger, less efficient club wagons; growing families; those who need station wagons but hate the stodgy suburban image; women who aren't comfortable driving large conventional vans; people who used to own full-sized sedans and like plenty of interior room, and those who just enjoy the sheer novelty of the vehicle.'
The company's bet was well placed. One day in 1983, when members of Chrysler's Houston zone office drove to lunch in a newly-delivered minivan, a lady approached them in the restaurant's parking lot and unhesitatingly asked, 'What is this and where can I buy one?' The initial marketing, featuring popular magician Doug Henning, aptly described the vehicle as 'The Magic Wagon.'
The Chrysler minivan was an instant success and, despite spirited competition from other automakers over three decades, has always been the best-selling minivan in the Únited States.
1984-1990 model years: The first-generation Chrysler minivans were based on the S platform, a derivative of the Chrysler K platform used for the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant passenger cars. Three trim levels were available on the first Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager models – a base level, the 'mainstream' SE and the 'upscale' LE, which featured vinyl 'woodgrain' side panels. The standard four-cylinder engine could be mated wîth a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission or a five-speed manual. An early Chrysler minivan featuring the rare turbocharged 2.5-liter engine (available only in 1989 and 1990) is now considered a collector's item by many.
Both the Caravan and the Voyager were on Car and Driver magazine's 'Ten Best' list for 1985.
The Mini-Ram Van, a cargo version of the Caravan, also appeared in 1984. Renamed the Caravan C/V in 1989, it was discontinued after the 1995 model year.
In 1987, the Caravan and Voyager received some cosmetic updates – and new, longer-wheelbase Grand Caravan and Grand Voyager models were introduced.
1990 model year: The Chrysler Town & Country, a luxury version of the Chrysler minivan, was introduced (see the Town & Country Heritage section). The Town & Country nameplate dated to 1941 and had been used on a variety of Chrysler vehicles until 1988.
The standard Town & Country minivan was considered 'loaded,' wîth no optional trim levels. Power locks, windows, mirrors and driver's seat, front and rear air conditioning and leather seats were all standard. The 3.8-liter V-6 engine was made standard in the Town & Country in 1994.
1991-1996 model years: Chrysler's hot-selling minivans were freshened for the 1991 model year, and more option packages became available. Innovations included 'Quad Command' bucket seating (standard on the Town & Country beginning in 1992); integrated child safety seats (1992), available anti-lock brakes (1992), the first driver's side airbag in a minivan (1991, made standard in 1992), and the first dual front airbags (1994). This was the first minivan to meet 1998 Ú.S. federal safety standards (1994).
The 1991-1995 minivans used the AS platform, the last to be derived from the Chrysler K platform. Special '10-Year Anniversary Edition' trim packages were offered in 1994.
1996-2000 model years: Completely redesigned, the 1996 Chrysler minivans debuted in an elaborate program at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, during which Chrysler Chairman Bob Eaton and President Bob Lutz, dressed in Mr. Rogers-style cardigan sweaters, delivered the story of the new minivan from giant storybooks, then watched as one – wîth television character Kermit the Frog in the driver's window – soared over an artificial pond. It was Chrysler's way of giving notice that this new NS minivan would 'leapfrog' all competitors.
Spectacularly upgraded from its predecessor models, the NS was named Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year for 1996 – and appeared on the Car and Driver 'Ten Best' list for 1996 and 1997.
An -first driver's side sliding door proved so popular it was made standard. The manual transmission was dropped and all-wheel drive added. Base models were offered in most states wîth either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a Mitsubishi 3.0-liter V-6. In California and several northeastern states wîth stringent emissions standards, a 3.3-liter engine was offered as a V-6 option between 1997 and 2000. Options added over the life of the NS included CD players, grocery-bag hooks and a rear-seat video entertainment system.
With the demise of the Plymouth brand, the Voyager was rebadged as the Chrysler Voyager after 2001, later becoming the short-wheelbase version of the Town & Country in 2004.
2001-2007 model years: The most recent generation of Chrysler minivans rode on the RS platform. Another benchmark of modern-day Chrysler engineering innovation, the Stow ‘n Go second- and third-row foldable seating system, was introduced in 2005. Power sliding doors and a power hatch, options beginning in 2001, later became standard.
Freshening the exterior, continually adding new safety features and providing additional cargo space, better entertainment systems, more cupholders, grocery hooks and other family-friendly features has kept Chrysler's minivans at the top of their §egmènt in popularity and sales.
2008 model year: Chrysler is now positioned to again make minivan history. In addition to thoroughly updating the many successful features of their predecessors, the new Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans offer one-of-a-kind available features like Swivel ‘n Go second-row seats, which revolve to face the rear seats. A table can be placed between the second- and third-row seats, providing a convenient place for passengers to read, work or enjoy meals and games.
Both these features reflect well on Chrysler's proud heritage of innovative engineering: swivel bucket seats were standard on top-of-the-line Chrysler passenger cars in the late 1950s, and in the 1960s the Chrysler Imperial featured a 'Mobile Director' option, in which the front passenger's bucket seat swiveled 180 degrees to the rear and the center rear armrest unfolded to create a three-position conference table. The all-new 2008 minivan effectively updates these once-revolutionary ideas for the 21st Century, writing the latest chapter in Chrysler's continuing saga of -leading engineering.Source - Dodge
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