Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's official, Chrysler to build minivans for VW

It had been rumored for a while now that VW and Chrysler group were in talks for VW to get a version of the Chrysler minivan for its own use.

As you may recall, VW has had a hit-or-miss history with small vans in the US market - starting with what could be argued was the real original mini-van, the VW bus/vanagon through lean times that saw Euro-style vans with less power and more cumbersome form factors trying to compete with the powerful and nimble offerings from the likes of Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda.

The last stab VW was set to take was a retro-styled van in the vein of the classic VW Vanagon. However, not too long ago, VW realized that a retro vehicle would not have made financial sense as it would have only played well in the US market.

So, without an alternative to bringing over the next Eurovan - which apparently did not look like a sure hit for the US market - and a new head in Wolfgang Bernhard who had all sorts of good vibes between himself and new DCX head Dieter Zetsche...the rest was likely just a matter of hammering out the details.

Now we know that, beginning in calendar year 2008, both VW and DCX will be bringing all new mini's to market based on the next DCX design.

It will be interesting to see what DCX gets as their part of the bargain. Obviously VW has lots of experience with AWD, platform sharing/flexible manufacturing that DCX might want to get some access to - but only time will tell.

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