DETROIT -- Although Volkswagen's new minivan will have unique sheet metal, under the skin it will be essentially a clone of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
Chrysler's next-generation minivans are expected to debut in 2007, followed by the VW version in 2008.
VW's primary contribution for the minivan, will be design and styling, says Frank Klegon, executive vice president of product development for the Chrysler group.
"They have some input to characteristics they are looking for, but they will not provide engineering resources," he said.
"It is very much similar to the relationship we did with Mitsubishi and the Raider," said Klegon, who was interviewed at the Detroit auto show.
In September, Mitsubishi introduced the 2006 Raider pickup. The vehicle was engineered by the Chrysler group and is essentially a Dodge Dakota pickup with different sheet metal. The Raider's instrument panel design and much of the interior is shared with the Dakota. Engines and transmissions come from Dodge.
The Raider and Dakota are assembled in Chrysler's plant in Warren, Mich.
Klegon said VW has not locked in the final styling for its minivan. "We have seen it from a perspective of sketches and stuff, but nothing has been built at this point." he said. "It is all still in the evolution phase."
VW will market only a stretched-wheelbase model.
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