New Dodge Hints At VW's 2008 Minivan
Jan. 8, 2007
DaimlerChrysler's new Dodge Caravan was unveiled yesterday at the Detroit auto show.
Take the vehicle pictured here and slap on a big chrome grille, stylized headlights, jewel-like taillights and an encircled VW logo fore and aft, and you can get a good idea of Volkswagen's 2008 minivan.
Volkswagen has teamed up with DaimlerChrysler, the originator of the modern minivan, to build a people hauler for the North American market that fits VW consumer tastes. Much of what you see here on the new Dodge Caravan will carry over to the VW.
Expect the same basic shapes and proportions of the exterior and interior, with VW providing its own front and rear fascias, as well as details inside. The three-spoke steering wheel is a near twin to what's found in current VWs.
The engine and transmission will be sourced from DaimlerChrysler, likely to be a 4.0-liter 240-horsepower V6 mated to a six-speed automatic.
Some of the DaimlerChrysler innovations that may make it to the VW include first- and second-row heated seats, first- and second-row power windows, power sliding doors and tailgate, a multimedia entertainment system, storage bins galore, dual- or tri-zone climate control, back-up aids, as well as special fabric seats that are stain resistant, odor resistant and anti-static.
Other possibilities are DaimlerChrysler's clever Stow 'N Go seats that fold flat into the floor — and the all-new Swivel 'N Go that swivels the second-row seats 180 degrees to face the third row, complete with a removable table for fun and games. Swivel 'N Go also has an available integrated child booster seat and one-touch power-folding third-row split bench seat.
It was smart of Volkswagen to begin collaborating with DaimlerChrysler early (see VolksWatch news story of a year ago Volkswagen And DaimlerChrysler To Build 2008 Minivan) — as opposed to rebadging the finished product with no say on development. From our understanding, VW has played an active role throughout the process, which will pay off big for its customers.
Moreover, being half-American and half-German, DaimlerChrysler knows a thing or two about what North American buyers of German vehicles expect.
DaimlerChrysler's new Chrysler and Dodge minivans were unveiled yesterday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Volkswagen's minivan will likely debut at this fall's LA auto show or in a year at 2008's Detroit show. All versions will be built at Chrysler's St. Louis, Missouri assembly plant.
So far we like what we see — but hope for bolder exterior styling in the VW van.
The Dodge's three-spoke steering wheel is a near twin to what's found in current VWs.
DaimlerChrysler's new Swivel 'N Go seats