Dodge's Second To Last Stand: The "Man Van"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
dodge s second to last stand the man van

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!

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  • Accs Accs on Jun 25, 2010

    Remind of the hundred reasons.. not to buy a Chrysler.. Shit like this pisses me off and I hate to sound sexist.. but it seeps out of me. Dodge turns around and screws up the naming convention and doors with the Charger / Challenger paired with the PC names, fine. Then they turn around and market it to women.. who's lives are so boring a Dodge Fiaster product is going to make their shitty lives better... (only after marketing the hell out of this pavement stomper to every man with a pulse, and the decent motor.) Ya have to be broke and stupid to be buying a Chrapsler / Fiatsler vehicle.. based on the simple principal that their stuff isnt worth a god damn.. not afte 2yrs of purchase. As far as this goes.. Id love to to tell them to shove it.. and try and produce a decent midsizer that can battle against the bloated twins from the Japanese. Stuff like this pisses me off about them

  • Michael Voigt Michael Voigt on Jun 26, 2010

    I have never understood the minivan haters. It is true that they are not much to look at, but they rock anyway. I drive my minivan with pride and confidence. I think that a minivan is the manliest vehicle on the road. The best men out there are family men and the minivan is the vehicle best suited for family adventure and maintaining a home. That said, I would love to see more minivans with more chiseled, muscular styling, and even more power and capability, all with better fuel economy. I want Dodge to do to the minivan what Ford has done to the V6 Mustang.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Jun 27, 2010

    To me, a minivan isn't a feminine thing, it's not a "Chickmobile". I know plenty of guys who drive them, and I had an '85 Caravan, my first and last one. If I needed one, I would have no problem buying one, but there are tons of vehicles I would buy first. A chickmobile is another story. I knew a young kid, made some money and bought a new car, his first one. It was a '99 or 2000 Mercury Cougar. Now THAT is THE chickmobile of it's day. He was devastated when someone called it what it was. He looked like a friend of mine did when I told him at age 7 that there was no Santa Claus. A neighbor of mine and his wife drove matching chickmobiles, they had VW Cabriolets, one of Ted Bundy's favorite cars. I don't really know what the current top chickmobile is, the last one was the "New Beetle".

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Feb 07, 2011

      You gotta be careful with pop culture. If you aren't it will make all sorts of choices for you. You'll be ashamed to do this or that, feel like you aren't cool enough, or that your life lacks excitement all because those lives of the people on TV seems to exceed your's. I've been there and done that for several years - it was called grade school back then. I got 13 years of it including Kindergarten. I got really, really tired of somebody else deciding what was cool and what was acceptable and witnessing or enduring someone's ridicule b/c for some reason their opinion supposedly carried more weight than every else's. The payback is that I hear most of these same shitty people are now multiple divorcées and in one case has even served time in the pen... No, I make my own choices thank you. Don't care what anyone else thinks of them. If I want to drive a girly car I will. If I want a minivan then I'll buy one. This gotta be manly thing works real well in the company of thugs, cavemen and pirates - not so much in the neighborhood where I'm safe and nobody is throwing rocks at me or shooting arrows at me. I don't need to intimidate anyone to protect my family or to scare away competition for the evening kill. As for minivans - I think Chrysler has alot to work with. They can make Euro sophisticated minivans, tough utility minivans and sleek sporty minivans. They do need to build more than just cheap and expensive minivans in various colors appealing to retirees. Above all the minivans need to be durable and affordable - durable first b/c people will pay for "good" - see Honda and Toyota.

  • Michael Neufeld Michael Neufeld on Jun 27, 2010

    As a member of the gay community, I can tell you that there is NO market for a minivan for us. You could even make a special "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" edition in fuschia with shoe racks mounted on the inside walls with dress storage, and this thing wouldn't sell. It's a shame, because minivans do offer a lot of practicality, but in our tribe they are referred to being suitable only for the "Olive Garden" crowd. We drive Subaru's for practicality and the Subaru company gives us respect. Chrysler has been lacking in their efforts on this.