Next gen Chrysler minivan to offer AWD and a new crossover

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According to Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, when the next generation Chrysler minivan hits the market it will feature the return of the popular all wheel drive system along with a new crossover variant – building on Marchionne’s comments at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show that one of the two top-selling minivans from Chrysler would be seeing a significant redesign in an effort to end inter-company redundancy.

Sergio Marchionne was quoted recently by the Detroit News as stating that the next generation Chrysler minivan platform needs to be more capable than the current models, which would include an all wheel drive system as well as a smaller “people mover” type vehicle. Marchionne first hinted to the changes in the Chrysler minivan lineup during a brief press conference at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show when he mentioned that the company had a need for a traditional minivan and a crossover type “people mover” – although he went into little detail about the future of the Chrysler and Dodge minivans.

All wheel drive was offered in Chrysler Group minivans until 2004, when the handy “stow and go” seating took up the under-vehicle room needed for the all wheel drive system. While AWD isn’t such a big deal for the minivan crowd it has become a mainstay in the crossover segment so if Chrysler plans to have the next generation minivan sharing a platform with a new minivan-based crossover, driving all four wheels is a must. Also, Chrysler is rumored to be working on a unibody pickup that will replace the Ram brand’s Dakota with the platform coming from the minivan family so AWD/4WD would be present there as well.

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