DETROIT -- The Chrysler group will build minivans for Volkswagen beginning in 2008, the automakers confirmed Thursday.
The Chrysler group is expected to introduce a generation of minivans in 2007 for the 2008 model year, according to the Automotive News Future Product series. The VW vans will be based on those redesigned models.
Sources say the VW minivan will be built at the Chrysler group's assembly plant in St. Louis. In early December, the automaker told of a $1 billion investment in the St. Louis plant to make it more flexible and to prepare it for new models.
Talks for the minivan deal sped up last year after Wolfgang Bernhard, former COO of the Chrysler group, became CEO for the VW brand. Bernhard negotiated the deal with his former boss, DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche.
The deal gives VW dealers a seven-seat minivan. VW dealers had been hoping for a modern version of the classic Microbus, but the German automaker killed that program last year.
Few details of the agreement were released Thursday. VW will determine its own styling for the minivan, a Chrysler group spokesman said. But other details, such as whether the VW version will have its own powertrain, have not been released.
This will be the second instance of the Chrysler group manufacturing a product for another automaker. The Chrysler group builds the Mitsubishi Raider pickup, which shares its platform with the Dodge Dakota, at its assembly plant in Warren, Mich.
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