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The Minivan: 25 Years of Extraordinary Excitement

The minivan was a hit, particularly with families opting for it over a station wagon or a family-sized sedan.

This winter, Chrysler will be unveiling special editions of the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Voyager as part of the minivan segment’s Silver Anniversary. The special editions pay homage to the more than 12 million minivans sold worldwide and emphasize that Chrysler LLC is the dominant leader in family transportation, with more than 40 percent of the U.S. minivan market.

Staying in tune with the needs of the travelling family has made Chrysler and Dodge minivans the market leader since the first-generation began production on Nov. 2, 1983. Chrysler’s pioneering efforts to create a family vehicle that would capture the niche between full-sized vans and large station wagons resulted in a front-engine, front-wheel drive design, a low flat-load floor and chair-height seating with walk-through access from front-row to second-row, a convenient sliding door and a garage-manageable size. Compared with the full size van and the large station wagon, the minivan surpassed either vehicle with its versatile functionality, fuel mileage and car-like ride.

The 25th Anniversary Edition Chrysler Grand Voyager minivans contain more than 30 new or improved features. Inside you will find new leather seats with French-seamed stitching, Blackwood accents, and satin finishes. Front row passengers have access to an entertainment interface that hooks together a USB port, Sirius Satellite Radio, a 30-gigabyte hard drive for 6,700 songs, an audio jack for any MP3 player, iPod connectivity in the glove box, uconnect GPS, voice controls and real-time traffic monitoring.

Exterior trim include 17-inch aluminum wheels, a roof rack with cross bars, and chromed belt and body-side moldings. The powerplant of this family vehicle is an efficient common-rail turbo-diesel engine, optimized for better fuel mileage and minimized emissions with no compromise over horsepower and torque.

25 years ago, Lee Iacocca, then Chairman of Chrysler declared, ““I predict the Voyager and Caravan will be to the ’80s what the Mustang was to the ’60s—vehicles that create extraordinary excitement and buyer interest and force other manufacturers to come up with copycat versions.”

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