No Minivan, No Chrysler?

no minivan no chrysler

Chrysler’s one-time bailout fodder, the minivan, gets no love this time around. Auburn Hills plans on idling its St. Louis South minivan plant on October 31, a move that has drawn a protest from 600 local UAW workers. The St. Louis Business Journal reports that frustration among workers is mounting. “This membership has done everything this company has asked us to do,” says UAW officer Chuck Brodell. “We build a quality van. We made it more efficient and we lowered costs. What more does the company want us to do?” St. Louis is also being hit by a shift reduction at the St. Louis North plant that makes the Dodge Ram, causing locals to question Chrysler’s priorities. “There were 1.6 million vans sold in the U.S. in the last four years versus 240,000 in Canada,” says Brodell. “We should be building them in America not in Canada.” But the discontent isn’t limited to the United States. Minivan assemblers in Windsor, Ontario are pushing to increase production by rebranding the Caravan/T&C/Routan as a Nissan, plans which Chrysler say will never see fruition. “It’s a falsehood. I know for a fact it hasn’t been discussed,” Chrysler senior manager of communications tells the Ottawa Citizen. “Would Volkswagen even let us entertain the idea? I don’t know, contractually.” Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that Nissan acknowledges (unlike Chrysler and VW) that the minivan market has “collapsed.” Either way, don’t expect any pro-bailout photo-ops featuring Dodge Caravans this time around.

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  • Morven Morven on Sep 13, 2008

    It always strikes me that the easy way out for an updated model is simply to make it bigger. It's the focus-group answer; it's a rare customer who'll say that they could never use more space, and if you're concentrating on reasons why people won't buy a car model, 'not big enough for me' is almost always going to be up there. But these kind of questions always assume no trade-off, and there's always trade-off in a bigger, more bloated vehicle - something the customers are consciously or unconsciously aware of, since they didn't buy the bigger car.

  • Runfromcheney Runfromcheney on Sep 14, 2008

    "Not big enough for me". Sadly, that is true, albiet the opposite for me. My biggest turnoff towards a car is "two big" or "handlings two dumbed down".

  • Johnster Not feelin' it. The traditional unreliability of turbo engines is a big turn-off, especially in a work truck that (I hope) you'd want to keep on the road for 200,000 miles or more without having major repairs.
  • ToolGuy Car audio is way overpriced.
  • Marty S The original Charger was a 2 door, as was the landmark 68 model. Its funny that some younger commenters are surprised that its not a four door. I never understood why modern Chargers have been four door sedans. I think the best looking Charger was the 68, absolutely perfect in its lines and proportions. This concept really emulates that and I think I think it looks great.
  • Master Baiter The D-bag elites like Al Gore demanding that we all switch to EVs are the type of people who don't actually drive. They get chauffeured around in black Yukon Denalis. Tesla does have a good charging network--maybe someday they will produce a car that doesn't suck.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird As a Challenger GT awd owner I lIke it’s heritage inspired styling a lot. There’s a lot of 66-67 as well as 68-70 Charger in there. It’s refreshing that it doesn’t look like a blob like Tesla, Volt/Bolt, Mach-e BMW I whatever etc. The fact that it’s a hatch makes it even better as a everyday driver thus eliminating the need for a CUV. If it’s well built and has a reliable track record I can see trading up to it in a few years.