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Chrysler Officially Puts Second Foot in Grave With "Man Van"

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If this "macho" version of the Dodge Grand Caravan doesn't spell doom for the automaker, nothing does.

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According to reports, Chrysler is attempting to "macho up" the minivan in a bid to appeal to male drivers.

America, get ready to meet the "man van" -- a Dodge Grand Caravan with what the Wall Street Journal calls "a slightly sportier look on the outside, possibly finished off with a black-and-gray interior trimmed with hot-colored stitching on the seats and steering wheel."

Take a look at the Grand Caravan in its present state:



How in God's name could the decision-makers at Chrysler possibly believe that a "black-and-gray trimmed interior" and "hot-colored stitching on the seats and steering wheel" would make a vehicle such as the Grand Caravan -- complete with juice-box holders for the kids -- more…anything? And why would a company that is at best, marginally still in business, squander the time, money, and effort to do so?

This, friends, is a "man van":



As is this:



And this:



Can Chrysler really be so ridiculously misguided in its flaccid attempt to stimulate minivan sales -- which have dropped over 50% since 2005 -- to a total of 424,007 last year?

Darren McKeage, VP of design at Motive Industries, an automotive design firm in Alberta, Canada, tells Minyanville:

There's been a trend with minivans lately to kind of sport them up with rims and spoilers, like the Honda (HMC) Odyssey and even the Toyota (TM) Sienna. But I think Chrysler's "man van" is likely too little, too late, and the Caravan already looks dated, as it is. There's really not much you can do to a minivan to change its image. Minivans are meant to be what they are -- practical, functional; as far as giving them sex appeal, well, that's pretty tough. It's incredibly difficult to design around that platform; it compromises what a minivan is built for in the first place. You can make cosmetic changes to a degree, but you don't want to end up with another Pontiac Aztek, which was a big flop, because they tried to include everything, like it was designed by committee.

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