Stow ’N Go™ Seating and Storage System Solidifies Dodge Caravan as the Leader in Minivan Sales and Innovations

OVERVIEW

The best-selling minivan today also is the best-selling minivan for the last 20 years. More than 20 years ago, Chrysler Corporation changed the way people think about transportation with the invention of the minivan. More than 10 million sales later, Dodge Caravan remains the leader in the minivan market segment.

“Stow ’n Go™ shows Dodge is serious about maintaining its leadership of the minivan segment,” said Larry Lyons, Vice President—Front-Wheel Drive Product Team. “Developed and implemented in only 18 months, Stow ’n Go is one of the more than 15 new features and safety enhancements on our new 2005 minivans. Combined with an MSRP averaging $3,000 less than previous models, and offering the lowest-priced minivan available today, the Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan easily give our customers better value and utility than any other manufacturer.”

Designed and engineered from the inside out, Chrysler Group has raised the bar for innovations with the 2005 Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan minivans. The minivan-first Stow ’n Go seating and storage system not only provides the industry's only fold-in-the-floor second- and third-row seats, but gives an additional 12 cu. ft. of storage area when the seats are in their upright position. The seating configuration goes from seven seats to two in less than 30 seconds, with an effortless, one-hand operation.

“Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan offer the right options at the right price, which is why the Dodge Caravan continues to be the market leader,” said Darryl Jackson, Vice President—Dodge Marketing. “We invented the minivan segment and will continue to be the minivan leader by listening to our customers, offering unmatched convenience and innovative flexibility. Adding the new Stow ’n Go seating and storage system, while taking our price lower than previous models demonstrates this commitment.”

Chrysler Group invested $400 million to create a new platform and bring its new 2005 Chrysler and Dodge minivans to market in just 18 months.

STOW ’N GO™ SEATING AND STORAGE SYSTEM
Unlike competitor vehicles, the 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan second- and third-row seats can be folded into the floor with a virtually effortless one-hand operation, without the need for the headrests to be removed.

Two spacious, covered storage bins are available when the second-row Stow ’n Go seats are left upright. Six cu. ft. of covered storage space is available in the second row, and when combined with the storage bin behind the third-row seats, the 2005 Town & Country offers a total of 12 cu. ft. of additional storage space.

Space-age technology meets minivan flexibility in the 2005 Dodge minivans. For the first time in a minivan, Chrysler Group engineers used Super High Density (SHD) foam cushion seating that was originally developed by NASA to improve the seat comfort for astronauts. This foam cushion comfort technology also is used in high-end home and office furniture. For additional comfort, second-row seats move forward and back and offer 100mm of seat travel. Second-row seatbacks recline up to 40 degrees, offering 13 different positions.

Also new for 2005 is a minivan-first, third-row easy entry system. With the pull of a single strap, the second-row seat tumbles out of the way and allows for easy entry into the third row.

More than 250 seating configurations are possible in 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. A few of the most popular include:

  • Tailgate — The 60/40 third-row split bench seats flip completely rearward for comfortable tailgate seating when the vehicle is parked. The seats can be flipped individually or together. Chrysler Group minivans are also the only ones in the industry to offer reclining seatbacks in the tailgate configuration.
  • Limousine — The second-row seats stow into the floor for plenty of third-row legroom.
  • Family — All seats upright can seat seven people, and at the same time, open up additional storage capacity. When the second-row Stow ’n Go seats are left upright, two spacious storage bins are available, creating 6 cu. ft. of covered storage space. Combined with the bin behind the third-row seats, the new Dodge Grand Caravan offers up to 12 cu. ft. of additional storage in this configuration. Cargo net bags are also a standard feature in the second-row storage bins, making it easy to quickly gather up cargo.
  • Cargo/Storage — Both the second- and third-row seats fold into the floor, for a minivan-first flat, cargo area containing 160.7 cu. ft. of available storage space.

ADDITIONAL NEW 2005 FEATURES
The new Dodge Grand Caravan also features minivan-first outboard break-away cup holders. If the outboard cup holders are left in the open position when the seats are stowed, a mechanism releases the cup holder and allows the seat to be folded into the floor, leaving the cup holder intact.

The 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan also includes a minivan-first Overhead Rail System, featuring three moveable/removable overhead storage bins, with the capability to add three more for a total of six.

A minivan-first Standard Door Alert system also is featured on new Dodge Caravan minivans. Signal lights activate when the power sliding doors or manual sliding doors are in operation, signaling that occupants are getting in or out of the vehicle.

QUIETNESS
Chrysler Group engineers continue to refine the minivan driving experience for 2005, making the new Dodge Grand Caravan minivan more than 16 percent quieter than previous models. The reduction of noise, vibration and harshness was accomplished through the use of a variety of innovative technologies that contribute to a driving experience that communicates confidence and quality.

The goal of Chrysler Group engineers was to maintain a “kitchen table” level of quietness in the 2005 minivans, so families could have conversations without having to shout. To accomplish this, they utilized “Quiet Steel” technology, which is a visco-elastic treatment sandwiched between two steel layers.

In addition to the Quiet Steel, structural ribbing and a robotically applied liquid spray-on dampener were integrated into the recessed floor design to reduce vibration, road noise and stone impingement. The liquid spray dampener provides an additional barrier to noise that would otherwise enter the passenger compartment through the floor.

A new underbody structure also was designed and developed for the 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan. It is designed for high bending and torsional stiffness, which helps isolate suspension vibration and chatter from the passenger compartment.

Additional noise reductions in the 2005 minivans result from a fluid-filled hydro engine mount that significantly reduces engine vibration into the front rails to help isolate engine vibration. Suspension control arms use tuned hydro bushings to further reduce suspension vibration, while wind noise was reduced by incorporating triple door seals, molded gaskets, aerodynamically configured roof rack cross bows and a spiraled antenna.

2005 DODGE CARAVAN/GRAND CARAVAN SAFETY FEATURES

MINIVAN-FIRST DRIVER-SIDE INFLATABLE KNEE BLOCKER
The knee blocker inflates in conjunction with air bag deployment to help position the driver relative to the air bag and offers additional upper leg protection.

THREE-ROW SUPPLEMENTAL SIDE-CURTAIN AIR BAGS
Three-row, A- to D-pillar side-curtain airbags provide full-length coverage for all rows of seats. The side-curtain extends protection to all outboard passengers. Both side-curtain air bags have independent impact sensors, which trigger the air bag on the side where impact occurs.

ADVANCED MULTI-STAGE FRONT AIR BAGS
These air bags provide enhanced protection for a greater range of occupants at various deployment levels, based on the severity of an impact. The front passenger air bag is also equipped with standard occupant classification system (OCS) (late availability in some models).

OCCUPANT CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM (OCS)
The OCS determines the conditions for activation of the passenger-side front air bag, based on the weight of the occupant.

MINIVAN-FIRST STANDARD DOOR ALERT
The alert signal lights activate when the power sliding doors or manual sliding doors are in operation, signaling that occupants are getting in or out of the vehicle.

BELTALERT
This system periodically activates a chime and illuminates a light in the instrument cluster to remind unbelted drivers to buckle up.

REAR PARK ASSIST
This rear obstacle detection system offers an audible warning and rear overhead display.

CHILD SEAT ANCHOR SYSTEM

Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) help ease the installation of compatible aftermarket child seats.

ENHANCED ACCIDENT RESPONSE SYSTEM
This system makes it easier for emergency personnel to identify a vehicle and reach the occupant by turning on the interior lighting and unlocking the doors after air bag deployment.

CONSTANT FORCE RETRACTORS (CFR)
CFRs are engineered to force-limit the belt system and gradually release seat belt webbing in a controlled manner during a severe impact.

PRETENSIONERS
During a collision, the front seat belt pretensioners electronically sense a crash and immediately remove slack from the seat belts, thereby reducing the forward movement of the occupant’s upper body.

ENERGY-ABSORBING STEERING COLUMN
The innovative stroking steering column uses “release capsules,” which allow the column to move forward for enhanced energy absorption during a crash. The column also features “tuned” metal bend straps that deform during column stroke for optimal energy management.

FRONT CRUSH SENSORS
Two sensors located below the headlamps measure the severity of an impact and relay crash information to safety systems in the occupant compartment.

TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM
This advanced system monitors the pressure inside each tire and alerts the driver to improper tire pressure conditions.

ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM
Equipped with electronic sensors that prevent wheel lockup, the system offers improved steering control under extreme braking and/or slippery conditions.

2005 DODGE CARAVAN/GRAND CARAVAN MODELS
Dodge offers five minivan models for the 2005 model year.

2005 Dodge Caravan SE: Not only is the Dodge Caravan SE the value leader with the lowest price in the minivan segment, it is also the fuel economy leader, with the best minivan fuel economy rating. The Dodge Caravan SE standard-wheelbase minivan is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a four-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include next-generation multi-stage driver and front-passenger air bags, driver’s inflatable knee blocker, air conditioning, cargo net between the front seats, rear seatback grocery bag hooks, two-passenger intermediate and three-passenger rear bench seat featuring Easy Out® Roller seats, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren), AM/FM stereo radio with CD player and four speakers, 15-inch Interface wheel covers and sliding door alert.

2005 Dodge Caravan SXT: The Dodge Caravan SXT short-wheelbase minivan is powered by a 3.3-liter V-6 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the standard features available on the Dodge Caravan SE minivan, the 2005 Dodge Caravan SXT includes dual zone air conditioning, power door locks, power front windows and rear vents, rear defroster, sunscreen glass, body-color fascias, door handles and liftgate accents, power heated exterior mirrors, remote keyless and illuminated entry with Sentry Key® engine immobilizer, second-row bucket seats and third-row bench seat, AM/FM stereo radio with cassette, CD player and six speakers, speed control, tilt steering column and 16-inch Ingot aluminum wheels.

2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SE: The Dodge Grand Caravan SE long-wheelbase minivan is powered by a 3.3-liter V-6 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include next-generation multistage driver and front-passenger air bags, driver-side inflatable knee blocker, speed control, tilt steering column, air conditioning, body-color front and rear fascias, cargo net between the front seats, rear seatback grocery bag hooks, two-passenger intermediate and three-passenger rear bench seat with fold and recline featuring Easy Out Roller seats, LATCH, AM/FM stereo radio with CD player and four speakers, 15-inch Interface wheel covers and sliding door alert.

2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SE Plus: In addition to the standard features offered on the Dodge Grand Caravan SE, the 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SE Plus long-wheelbase minivan includes the Stow ’n Go seating and storage system, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, advanced multi-stage driver and front-passenger air bags, cargo nets in second-row storage bins, body-color bodyside molding, door handles and liftgate accents, sunscreen glass, illuminated visor/vanity mirrors, remote keyless and illuminated entry with Sentry Key engine immobilizer, power front windows and rear vents, power door locks and power mirrors.

2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT: In addition to the standard features on the Dodge Grand Caravan SE Plus, the long-wheelbase Dodge Grand Caravan SXT is powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 engine with four-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features include three-zone manual temperature control, sunscreen glass with rear defroster, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with low-speed traction control, overhead console with trip computer and HomeLink® universal transceiver, power driver- and passenger-side sliding doors, fog lamps, roof rack, illuminated visor/vanity mirrors, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls, AM/FM stereo radio with cassette, CD player and six speakers, 16-inch Ingot aluminum wheels with tire pressure monitoring system, power windows, power locks and power mirrors.

Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan models powered by 3.3-liter and 3.8-liter V-6 engines meet Tier II Bin 5 and LEV2 emission requirements.

Factory-installed SIRIUS® Satellite Radio, factory-installed UConnect™ Hands-Free communication system and factory-installed navigation system are available on select 2005 Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan models.

New exterior colors for all 2005 Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan models include Linen Gold and Magnesium.

MINIVAN MARKET SEGMENT
The minivan segment is a substantial part of the new vehicle market, averaging 1.2 million vehicles sold in each of the last 10 years. The Dodge Caravan has been the segment leader for the last 20 years. Roughly 1 of every 15 vehicles sold today is a minivan. This market is expected to stay steady, or slowly increase. Chrysler Group continues to be the leader of this segment, with more than 34 percent of the market in 2003.
Chrysler Group invented the minivan in 1983, and since then has sold more than 10 million minivans in 72 countries, introduced 50 minivan-first features, and earned more than 150 awards industry-wide.

The target Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan owner is a 25-to 35-year-old college-educated female with two or more children under the age of 6 and a household income of $80,000. However, approximately 40 percent of Chrysler Group minivans are sold to customers who don’t have children at home. These Dodge minivan empty-nesters have a household income of more than $55,000, and mainly live in small or rural towns.

Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan models are built at DaimlerChrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and St. Louis South Assembly plant in Fenton, Mo.


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