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Does Chrysler Plan to Make a Manly Van?

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author photo by Autotrader June 2010

If you're one of the many dads who have resisted buying a minivan because of its perennial status as a "mom mobile," choosing instead a brawny SUV or socially acceptable family sedan, Chrysler has heard you – and is readying a compromise.

According to "The Wall Street Journal," Chrysler has informed its dealers that a more muscular version of its Dodge Grand Caravan will soon debut – so muscular, in fact, that Chrysler is referring to it as the "man van."

Undoubtedly based in part on the Grand Caravan R/T, a concept car unveiled at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the van will likely feature sportier trim inside and out, possibly including a body kit and colored stitching to accent the van's sporty character.

"If it gets one guy to give the minivan a second look, it's worth it," said one dealer to "The Wall Street Journal," after being informed by Chrysler of the van's imminent debut. "A man van won't generate huge sales, but it's one of those vehicles that gets people talking and heads turning. We need that now." Though Chrysler was silent about the man van, dealers told the Journal that the van should be available to order within the next few months.

Despite Chrysler's male-oriented attempt to inject new life into its minivan, sales numbers show that vans are no longer the top choice for American consumers, who are overwhelmed with choices for family vehicles. According to automotive data analysis firm, Ward's Auto, minivan sales have declined around 65% since their peak in 2000, with less than 430,000 minivans sold in 2009.

Though it remains to be seen whether Chrysler will increase its masculine following, the automaker will certainly be facing tough competition. Just last week, Honda released the fourth generation of its popular Odyssey minivan on the heels of competition from Toyota, whose new Sienna went on sale in March.

Photo courtesy of Eric Bryant and Autoblog

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Used 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Does Chrysler Plan to Make a Manly Van? - Autotrader