The Wall Street Journal [sub] asked several Chrysler dealers about the newest hotness being developed in Auburn Hills, and came away with the tales of a “man van” that Chrysler hopes will lend the Dodge Caravan some masculine swagger. According to the WSJ, this re-man-ification of the minivan includes:
a slightly sportier look on the outside, possibly finished off with a black-and-gray interior trimmed with hot-colored stitching on the seats and steering wheel
Oh yes, and some “edgy” ads laden with tired cliches of sexual politics. In short, they’re sending the 2008 “Caravan R/T” concept into production. But why?
According to one Dodge dealer:
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. I mean if it gets one guy to give the minivan a second look, its worth it.
Which, of course, is very similar to what Chrysler’s boffins said about the Jeep Wrangler Islander edition. But at least expectations are being well-managed. The anonymous Dodge dealer continues
In the end these vehicles bump sales. Let’s say you are ordering five minivans. You may choose just for fun to throw in a couple man vans. That’s two more vehicles that Chrysler just sold.
Two hypothetical incremental sales per dealer! And all it takes is alienating the half of the population that actually buys minivans. Brilliant!