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Last week, Chrysler announced delivery of four plug-in hybrid Town & Country minivans to the Auburn Hills city of Michigan as the initial part of an extensive two-year hybrid development project worth $25.8 million. Today, company delivered eight more units to the Duke Energy utility company as part of the two-year project.
As the only minivan to boast a plug-in hybrid powertrain in combination with flex-fuel capability, Chrysler also revealed the specifications of its new plug-in Town & Country.
As brands go, Chrysler isn’t much for making hybrids and EVs, but that’s changing. The automaker just announced that it delivered four plug-in hybrid Town & Country mini vans to the city of Auburn Hills, Mich. as a two-year demonstration project.
Chrysler says it’s pouring $15.8 million into the project, which will be supplemented by another $10 million from the Department of Energy but only 25 vehicles will be built, which means each unit is a million-dollar car.
The Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan have ruled the minivan market for years, and are now poised to combine into one vehicle sporting the best features from each. The biggest problem with this merger however, is which name do you keep and which name do you scrap?
Chrysler group CEO, Saad Chehab, says that his Town & Country moniker should survive, and the Grand Caravan marque be put to bed. “It’s always been Town & Country that leads the way for the business of minivans, but there is a certain cache and there is loyalty that we’ve got to consider to move forward.” Said Chehab. “If we were to combine them into one minivan, Town & County has the natural fit to continue.”
This discussion erupted after Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was quoted saying that the Chrysler group needs a new minivan, and it would make sense to merge both the vans into just one market offering. Marchionne also discussed the likelihood of a small platform minivan to compete with the likes of the Mazda5 and Ford C-max. Whichever brand gets the new downsized minivan will also lose its current van offering, another factor that has to be considered by Chrysler when deciding which name to rid itself of.
The Town & Country is the stronger seller in the US between the two minivans, so it would seem likely that the Grand Caravan will find itself on the chopping block.
Saad Chehab believes that the Town & Country name is the one that will carry the newest generation Chrysler van to success, and if history truly does predict the future, Chrysler has nothing to worry about when it comes to the minivan segment.
[Source: Automotive News]
Charles Preston, bought himself a used Chrysler Town & Country minivan from Thrifty, a rental car office, for $14,000. But then, when Charles brought the Chrysler to the garage to get its brakes checked out, the mechanic took a look at the window mechanism as well to figure out why it failed to roll down.
Upon taking the door panel out, the shop was shocked to discover the cause of the problem was actually $500,000 worth of cocaine. Preston is a psychologist from Santa Monica, California and wanted to use the van to deliver food to the homeless.
Unknowingly getting himself in the middle of one of the most bizarre drug seizures in recent memory, the police advised Preston to return the van to Thrifty and have it checked for tracking devices as well. When management at Thrifty heard the story, they offered to replace Preston’s van with a “clean” example.
Police officer Sgt. Jason Dwyer, told the Mercury News. “If somebody is motivated to track down that van and doesn’t want any witnesses, then some physical harm could come to the owner. That’s a lot of dope to be misplaced.”
[Source: Mercury News]
Chrysler announced a recall of 248,000 Dodge Journey, Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country models for a chance that the key could slip out while driving, shutting down the engine without warning.
At least two rear-end collisions have occurred from this fault, says Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From driver contact or bumpy road conditions, the key could get knocked into the accessory position, which would shut down the engine as a result. Chrysler received 32 complaints and 465 warranty claims from customers, and launched an investigation last September to respond to these. The key’s supplier is Continental AG.
The models affected are all 2010 vehicles, built between August 3, 2009, and June 17, 2010. About 3 percent of the 248,000 vehicles recalled may have this problem.