By Patrick Olsen on January 8, 2012
In a group interview yesterday at the Detroit auto show, Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that a Chrysler 700c on the show floor represents a design study of what the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country minivan might look like.
A year ago, Marchionne said there was no point in having two minivans that were essentially the same — the Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan — competing against each other. From the looks of the 700c, Chrysler's "van" would be slightly smaller on the inside, but with big improvements to the interior quality.
Marchionne acknowledged that minivans aren't going to storm back into popularity anytime soon: "It's a defined market," he said. "It's not going to grow by leaps and bounds."
He conceded that quality ratings for the current minivans have dropped over the past few years, but he said the automaker "has done a lot of work" that “needs to put us back in the box" for minivan shoppers.
A new minivan could come as early as the end of 2013 after going through consumer clinics in late spring of next year, Marchionne said, adding, "We need to get there a lot faster than we thought we had to."
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Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen was born and raised in California. He loves pickup trucks and drivers who pay attention. Email Patrick