Press Kit: 2008 Chrysler and Dodge Minivans (Launch)

All-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country Pop With Fresh Ideas for the Minivan Segment

  • Thirty-five new or improved features make the 2008 Chrysler Group minivans “family rooms on wheels” 
  • Fifth generation of industry-leading Chrysler Group minivans to arrive this fall 
  • All-new exterior and interior design for a more contemporary appearance 
  • Five models, three distinct seating and storage systems and three powertrains, including a minivan-first six-speed transaxle, offer clever versatility for active lifestyles

Auburn Hills, Mich. August 6, 2007 -

The all-new 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans offer fresh ideas for consumers looking for the best vehicles to move people and cargo. With 35 new or improved features, the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country aren’t just practical vehicles, they also have the right mix to be “family rooms on wheels,” with something for everyone to enjoy.

“Family transportation has changed since the introduction of the original Dodge Caravan in 1984,” said Steven Landry, Executive Vice President – Chrysler Group NAFTA Sales, Global Marketing, Service and Parts. “The all-new 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan set the family transportation standard with an all-new ‘grown-up’ appearance, five different models, three distinct seating and storage systems, unmatched entertainment systems and the safety consumers expect and deserve. Add in three powertrain options, clever interior features and industry-leading functionality and you have a recipe that will be a favorite with any family.”

The newest idea that has popped in the family seating arena is the all-new Swivel ’n Go™ seat system. Swivel ’n Go offers second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees to face the third row with a removable table that installs between the two rows, covered storage bins in the floor of the second row, third-row uncovered storage and fold-in-the-floor third-row seating. The table stores out of sight in the second-row covered storage bins when not in use. Swivel ’n Go also offers an available minivan-first integrated child booster seat in the second-row quad chair (late availability) and an available minivan-exclusive one-touch power-folding third-row 60/40 bench seat. With Swivel ‘n Go, everything from dinner on the go to card tournaments is possible.

“Chrysler Group engineers continue to bring fresh ideas to the minivan segment,” said Larry Lyons, Vice President – Chrysler Group Front-wheel-drive Product Team. “This time, we turn the tables on traditional seats with a technology that lets families have more choices of how to spend their time while traveling. With Swivel ’n Go, second- and third-row passengers can face each other to have a conversation, play games or have a meal on the go.”

Safety is a key part of any minivan, and that continues to be true with the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. All-row supplemental side-curtain air bags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with traction control and brake assist, LATCH child seat anchor system and an energy-absorbing steering column are among the standard safety features included in the 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans. Innovations like ParkView® rear back-up camera, a rearview interior conversation mirror, integrated child safety seat, ParkSense® rear back-up system and a minivan-first integrated child booster seat (late availability) also ensure peace of mind while traveling.

Unmatched Functionality, Convenience and Entertainment

The 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country have enriched the formula for minivan functionality to include a place for everything a family needs while traveling. Doors with useful storage compartments, a premium, multi-function, front-row sliding console that moves rearward as much as 21 inches, dual glove boxes, second-row in-floor covered storage bins, a third-row storage area, clever storage bins, cup holders and pockets offer more places to store things than ever before.

Seating versatility is increased for 2008 with three distinct seating options. These include a second-row bench seat with second-row covered storage bins and third-row fold-in-the-floor seating, the industry-exclusive Stow ’n Go® seating and storage system that offers the only second- and third-row fold-in-the-floor seats and the new Swivel ’n Go seat system that allows the second-row seats to swivel 180 degrees to face rearward. Swivel ’n Go also includes a removable table that fits between the second and third rows and a fold-in-the-floor third-row seat. A minivan-first one-touch power-folding third-row seat is available with either the Stow ‘n Go or Swivel ‘n Go seat systems.

Available comfort and convenience features include heated first- and second-row leather or cloth seats; remote start; YES Essentials® stain-resistant, odor-resistant, anti-static cloth fabric and floor mats; a removable, rechargeable flashlight in the rear quarter panel; second-row power windows; second- and third-row retractable sun shades; sunglass holder with rearview interior conversation mirror, power sliding doors; power liftgate with power button on the key fob and rear-pillar; ambient halo lighting; movable, pinpoint Light Emitting Diode (LED) reading lamps; map lights and a single- or tri-zone heating and cooling system.

Entertainment features include a dual DVD multimedia entertainment system that can play different media at the same time; MyGIG™ CD/DVD/HDD/MP3/satellite radio with voice-activated capability, touch screen and real-time traffic and navigation; SIRIUS Satellite Radio; SIRIUS Backseat TV with three channels of family programming that include Disney Channel, Nickelodeon Mobile and Cartoon Network Mobile; UConnect® Hands-free Communication system with Bluetooth® technology; mesh side pockets on the second-row seats that can hold iPods, hand-held gaming systems or beverages; 115-volt inverter; two second-row input/output jacks with a 12-volt power outlet and an overhead console with bins large enough to store headphones.

Minivan-first Six-speed Transaxle and a New 4.0 Liter V-6 Engine

The 2008 Chrysler Group minivans offer a minivan-first six-speed transaxle. The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country’s new six-speed automatic transaxle is derived from the Chrysler Group’s proven four-speed transaxle. The six-speed transaxle’s higher numerical first gear launches the minivan more briskly than a four- or five-speed transaxle. It also provides smaller steps between ratios, which means the engine speed changes less with each shift and makes the shifts feel smoother. The six-speed transaxle also engages a more appropriate ratio for any driving situation. In particular, wide open throttle kickdown shifts to fourth gear engage at a slightly higher ratio than do upshifts to provide needed acceleration with less engine flare.

“Chrysler Group is the first to offer a six-speed transaxle in a minivan,” said Lyons. “With a new 4.0-liter, V-6 aluminum engine and new six-speed transaxle, the 2008 Chrysler and Dodge minivans offer added performance and a smoother driving experience.”

Powertrain choices include a new 4.0-liter V-6 aluminum engine mated to a new six-speed transaxle that produces 251 hp (189 kW) and 259 lb.-ft. (350 N•m) of torque, a 3.8-liter V-6 aluminum engine mated to a new six-speed transaxle that produces 197 hp (147 kW) and 230 lb.-ft. (312 N•m) of torque or a 3.3-liter flex-fuel-capable V-6 aluminum engine mated to a four-speed transaxle that produces 175 hp (131 kW) and 205 lb.-ft. (278 N•m) of torque. The varied powertrain options provide a pleasant driving experience in a variety of conditions.

Model Lineup

Five models are available for the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. Dodge offers two models: the Dodge Grand Caravan SE and Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. Chrysler offers three models: the Chrysler Town & Country LX, the Chrysler Town & Country Touring and the Chrysler Town & Country Limited.

2008 Minivan Production

The 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans will be built at Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and St. Louis South Assembly Plant in Fenton, Mo.

The 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country will arrive in U.S. dealerships in the fall of 2007.

Dodge Brand

Whether it’s cars, trucks or minivans, the Dodge brand offers bold, powerful, capable and street-smart vehicles that are known for affordable performance. With nine new vehicles launching in the last two years, Dodge, the Chrysler Group’s best-selling brand, continues its product offensive with the launch of the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan.

With more than 1.3 million units sold globally in 2006 (1,077,579 units in the U.S.), Dodge is the Chrysler Group’s best-selling brand and the number five nameplate in the U.S. auto market with a seven percent market share.

Chrysler Brand

Driven by award-winning new models, the Chrysler brand has seen a dramatic increase in sales, market share and brand image in recent years. Since 1990, Chrysler brand sales have jumped more than 250 percent. No other American automotive brand has grown as much during the same time frame.

Minivan Innovation Leadership

The modern minivan was invented by the Chrysler Corporation in 1983. Since then, Chrysler Group has sold almost 12 million minivans and invented more than 60 minivan firsts that not only have revolutionized the minivan segment, but made their way into other vehicle segments as well.

“Chrysler Group has been bringing innovations to the minivan segment for 24 years and those innovations seem to have an uncanny way of ending up in other products,” said Lyons. “Integrated child safety seats, dual-zone temperature controls, power liftgates and DVD entertainment systems are just some of the features that started in minivans, but are now available in other vehicle segments.”

The minivan segment is a vibrant part of the new vehicle market, averaging 1.1 million units sold since 1993. Roughly one of every 15 new vehicles sold in the U.S. is a minivan, and that is expected to stay stable or grow slightly in the near future. The segment is forecast as a stable segment based on a number of factors which include the aging “Baby Boomer” segment and the “Millennial” or “Gen Y” group that is the largest segment of the population. Coupled with data that shows family size starting to increase slightly, these metrics all add up to a vibrant, stable to slightly growing minivan market segment.

As the inventor of the modern minivan segment, Chrysler Group has the most experience in the segment, as well as data to draw from and customers to consult. This allows us to continue to innovate fresh ideas that customers want in the minivan segment. The minivan segment also is the proving ground for many new technologies and innovations that, over time, find their way into other vehicle segments.

For 2008, the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan offer value, versatility, safety and a package of innovative features that no other manufacturer can match. With 35 new or improved features, the all-new 2008 Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan offer consumers fresh ideas that make the new Chrysler and Dodge minivans a home away from home.

“The 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan offer the best package of features for today’s busy families,” said Landry. “With a dual DVD system that plays different media at the same time, pinpoint LED lighting to read by, a table to play games or finish homework, a voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic, power sliding doors and liftgate and YES Essentials® fabric seats, every member of the family will enjoy their journey.”

Fresh Ideas Popping Up Even More Minivan Firsts

There’s something to be said for being first. Chrysler Group was the first to introduce the modern minivan 23 years ago. Over the past two decades, the company has introduced more than 60 minivan-first features:

  1. First minivan to offer front-wheel drive (1984) 
  2. First minivan to offer selection of engines, V-6 or four-cylinder (1987) 
  3. First to offer long-wheelbase minivans (1987) 
  4. First to offer luxury minivan with introduction of Town & Country (1990) 
  5. First minivan to offer standard driver-side air bag (1991) 
  6. First minivan with center high-mounted brake light (1991) 
  7. First minivan with child safety locks on sliding door (1991) 
  8. First minivan to offer four wheel anti-lock brakes (1991) 
  9. First minivan to offer Quad command seating (1991) 
  10. First minivan to offer all-wheel-drive on front-wheel-drive platform (1991) 
  11. First minivan to offer integrated child seat (1992) 
  12. First minivan to offer standard passenger-side air bag (1994) 
  13. First minivan with dynamic side-impact protection (1994) 
  14. First minivan to meet California 1997 Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification (1994) 
  15. First minivan to meet Inherently Low Emission Vehicle (ILEV) certification (1995) 
  16. First to introduce electric minivan, EPIC — Electric Powered Interurban Commuter (1995)
  17. First minivan with seamless passenger-side air bag door (1996) 
  18. First minivan to offer Dual Zone Temperature Control (1996) 
  19. First minivan in U.S. market to offer driver-side sliding door (fourth door) (1996) 
  20. First minivan to offer windshield wiper de-icer (1996) 
  21. First minivan to offer 16-inch wheels and tires for enhanced performance (1996) 
  22. First minivan to offer power memory seat and mirrors (1996)
  23. First minivan to offer Easy-Out® Roller Seats (1996)
  24. First minivan to offer adjustable cup holders (1996) 
  25. First minivan with cab-forward design (1996) 
  26. First minivan to offer adjustable reclining rear child seat with molded seat cushion (1996) 
  27. First minivan with removable windshield wiper module (1996) 
  28. First minivan with mid-cabin upper-level comfort control (1996) 
  29. First minivan with dual-action rear drum brakes (1996) 
  30. First minivan capable of transporting 4’ x 8’ material on top of folded seatbacks or with seat removed and liftgate closed (long wheelbase) (1996) 
  31. First minivan with rear seatback-mounted grocery bag hooks (1998)
  32. First minivan to offer Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) availability, ethanol/gasoline (1998) 
  33. First minivan to offer 17-inch wheels and tires for enhanced performance (1999) 
  34. First minivan to offer AutoStick® transaxle (1999) 
  35. First minivan to offer wireless headphones for in-vehicle entertainment system (2000) 
  36. First minivan to offer 6.4-inch LCD screen for in-vehicle entertainment system (2000) 
  37. First minivan to offer power-up and power-down liftgate (2001) 
  38. First minivan to offer removable, powered center console (2001) 
  39. First minivan with power dual sliding doors, allowing for minivan-first manual override, powered by an industry-first inside-the-door motor (2001) 
  40. First minivan to offer power sliding door obstacle detection system when opening and closing (2001) 
  41. First minivan to offer engines with power over 210 horsepower (2001) 
  42. First minivan to offer pop-up rear cargo organizer (2001) 
  43. First minivan with three-zone temperature control system (2001) 
  44. First minivan with rear split 50/50 Easy-Out Roller Seats (2001) 
  45. First minivan with Stow ‘n Go® seating and storage system (2004) 
  46. First minivan with Super High Density (SHD) foam cushion seating (2004) 
  47. First minivan with split-bench third-row reclining tailgate seating (2004) 
  48. First minivan with third-row easy-entry system — with the pull of a single strap, the second-row seat tumbles out of the way (2004) 
  49. First minivan with a driver-side inflatable knee blocker (2004) 
  50. First minivan with Door Alert (2004) 
  51. First minivan with overhead rail system with movable/removable storage bins (2004) 
  52. First minivan to offer Swivel ‘n Go™ seat system (second-row seats swivel 180 degrees rearward and includes a removable table that installs between the second and third rows) (2008) 
  53. First minivan to offer a removable, two-part sliding front console with power outlet (2008) 
  54. First minivan to offer an umbrella holder (2008) 
  55. First minivan to offer a dual DVD system that can play different media at the same time (2008) 
  56. First minivan to offer a six-speed transaxle (2008) 
  57. First minivan to offer dual A/V jacks, 115-volt inverter and 12-volt power outlet in C-pillar (2008) 
  58. First minivan to offer ambient halo light package with movable LED pinpoint lighting (2008) 
  59. First minivan to offer an integrated child booster seat (2008) 
  60. First minivan to offer a removable, rechargeable LED flashlight (2008) 
  61. First minivan to offer first- and second-row heated seats in cloth or leather (2008) 
  62. First minivan to offer YES Essentials® stain-resistant, odor-resistant, anti-static cloth seats (2008)