Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chrysler To Build a VW Minivan for U.S. Market

WINDSOR, Ontario — Chrysler will build a minivan for Volkswagen in Canada to sell in the U.S. market starting next year. The new vehicle will be unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show in February and will go on sale in October as a 2009 model. It will be produced alongside the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan at Chrysler's Windsor assembly plant and will share Chrysler's new fifth-generation platform but will have its own VW-style appearance.

The introduction of the new VW minivan will mark the German automaker's first serious entry in the minivan market segment. It last sold its boxy EuroVan in the U.S. in 2003.

The Windsor Star newspaper said pilot versions of the VW van have been in production "for months" and quoted a Chrysler line worker as saying "a few of them a day" have been built while the launch was being negotiated. The worker also cited fellow employees' statements that the VW minivan is "a lot nicer" on the interior and will cost "a lot more money" than the Chrysler products.

VW has announced plans to increase its sales in the U.S. to 1 million by 2018.

What this means to you: For those who were sorry VW never turned its Microbus concept into a production vehicle, here is a consolation prize. — Laura Sky Brown, Correspondent

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