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VW's New Minivan: Engineered in the US

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VW's New Minivan: Engineered in the US

German automaker's new N.A. model will be a Chrysler clone

By RICK KRANZ | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 02/07/06, 8:05 am et

DETROIT -- Although Volkswagen's new US market minivan will have unique sheet metal, under the skin it will be essentially a Chrysler clone.

VW's primary contribution for the minivan will be design and styling, says Frank Klegon, Chrysler group's vice president of product development.

"They have some input in the characteristics they are looking for, but they will not provide engineering resources," he said.

"It is very much similar to the relationship we had with Mitsubishi and the Raider," said Klegon, who was interviewed at the Detroit auto show last month.

Mitsubishi introduced the Raider pickup in the US last September. The vehicle was engineered by the Chrysler group and is essentially a Dodge Dakota pickup with different sheet metal. The Raider's instrument panel design and much of the interior is shared with the Dakota. Engines and transmissions come from Dodge.

Chrysler will build a minivan for VW for the US market starting 2008.

Klegon said VW has not locked in the final styling for its minivan. "We have seen it from a perspective of sketches and stuff, but nothing has been built at this point." he said. "It is all still in the evolution phase."

Trevor Creed, Chrysler's senior vice president of design, said VW has done all of their own styling on the minivan.

"When I saw the styling of the vehicle it was quite distinctive and Volkswageny. And they have done their own interior as well," Creed said.

Asked if there is any conflict with Chrysler minivans, Creed said: "There is no conflict. They are obviously doing a Volkswagen, not a Dodge or Chrysler."

VW brand Chairman Wolfgang Bernhard said at the Detroit show that VW's version of the minivan isn't just going to be a Chrysler minivan with a Volkswagen badge on it.

"The touch, feel and functionality of the interior will be Volkswagen," Bernhard said.

VW will market only a long-wheelbase, seven-seat version.

Last March VW dismayed its US dealers when it announced it would not sell in North America a planned Microbus based on the T5 transport van. VW cited economic circumstances and the strong euro as reasons for the decision.

Link: http://autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?...1024/LATESTNEWS

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Ahh, makes me so happy that my brand, the inventor of the modern minivan, is building a clone for the "great" Germans. Mwahah!

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VW probably wants a minivan so that they can get as much marketshare as their sorry keisters can possibly get.

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