After kicking around the mill for a few months, Volkswagen confirmed today that Chrysler will build VW a minivan it can sell for around $30,000 off Chrysler’s successful Caravan/Town & Country model.
VW has been stymied for some time in the van category, because the Microbus (pictured above) concept it showed a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show could not be built for less than $35,000, and some say more because of the weakeneing U.S. dollar. Too expensive for a minivan, even a redo of the legendary Microbus.
The van VW gets from Chrysler will probably not be called the Microbus, nor is it likely to have the stow-n-go seating design Chrysler has in the current van. Indeed, it will be a challenge for VW to make the Chrysler van feel like a real Volkswagen. But the executive who is championing the project, Wolfgang Bernhard, is probably best equipped to make it happen. Before taking over as head of the VW brand worldwide, he was COO of Chrysler Group and oversaw the makeover of the Chrysler van to include the unique seating system.
Chrysler will introduce a redesign of its minivan in 2007 for the 2008 model year, a redesign project Bernhard had a lot to do with before leaving Chrysler last year. The VW van will be based on that redesign.