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The History of Chrysler Minivans

The Chrysler Minivan got its start in the mid-1970s, when Ford Motor Company president Lee Iacocca decided that the brand needed a family van. Iacocca had a team of engineers develop a prototype, but kept it hidden because he feared that his boss, Henry Ford II, would have the project scrapped if he knew about it. A few years later, Iacocca left Ford for Chrysler, but was allowed to take his minivan idea with him. In 1983, Chrysler debuted the first minivan, which was marketed under two names: the Plymouth Voyager and the Dodge Caravan. They were an immediate success, selling 290,000 units in the first year alone. While they often get a reputation as “uncool” today, when they first debuted, minivans were revolutionary. They offered plenty of cabin room, a convenient sliding door, and car-like maneuverability. They were especially popular with suburban families, who for the first time could easily drive all of their children (and often a few of their friends) around in one vehicle that could still fit in their garage. With their minivans, Chrysler successfully created a new segment of the automobile market. Other manufacturers quickly followed suit by introducing their own minivan models. Today, these vehicles remain a popular choice for many families.

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