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 ST. LOUIS/WINDSOR, Ontario, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the most innovative and successful vehicles to be produced by any manufacturer, anywhere in the world in the last decade, celebrated its 10th anniversary of production today at Chrysler Corporation's (NYSE: C) St. Louis and Windsor assembly plants.
 With plant employees, Chrysler executives and local officials in attendance, Chrysler's trendsetting minivans were recognized for their 10 years of industry leadership.
 "While the minivan's original package put it on top, it's not the reason that it has stayed on top," said Robert J. Eaton, Chrysler chairman and CEO, addressing the audience in Windsor. "I think the key to the minivan's longevity can be summed up in two words: continuous improvement. Over the first ten-year run of the minivan, we've never stopped improving the vehicle, its quality or the process by which we build them."
 According to Chrysler, after 10 years, "no other minivan is safer." All 1994 Chrysler minivans come equipped with standard driver- and passenger-side air bags -- an industry first -- and other systems and components that enable the vehicles to meet all passenger car safety standards as presently enacted through 1998.
 But safety leadership is just one part of the minivan evolution.
 When first introduced in 1984, the minivan family included the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Mini Ram Van. Since then, the Chrysler minivan family has grown. In 1987, the Dodge Grand Caravan and Plymouth Grand Voyager were added to the product line with the Chrysler Town & Country following three years later.
 Described in literature of the day as a car-like "garageable" van/family wagon, the Caravan and Voyager -- as well as a cargo-carrying version termed a mini Ram van -- offered only two engines, both four- cylinder carbureted, in their introductory year.
 A 2.2-liter engine with a five-speed manual transmission was standard. A slightly larger 2.6-liter engine was optional, as was a three-speed automatic transaxle.
 In comparison, 1994 Caravan or Voyager customers have a choice of four engines, all fuel-injected and ranging from a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder to a new top-of-the-line 3.8-liter V-6. Transaxles range from five-speed manual through three-speed and four-speed electronic automatics.
 Front and rear bumpers of the originals were aluminum face bars versus today's handsome body-matching facias. Side moldings were minimal and lower-body cladding that augment today's high-line models was unknown at the time.
 The convert-a-bed option was introduced in 1985 and an eight- passenger seating option for mid-line models bowed in 1986.
 Chrysler minivans received their first electronically fuel-injected engines in 1987 when 2.5-liter versions were made standard on the new extended models and a new 3.0-liter EFI V-6 became a new optional powerplant. A redesigned 3.3-liter V-6 was added for 1990.
 It was a year later that Chrysler minivans underwent a major redesign -- both inside and out -- as well as an upgrade in several important functional features.
 Front suspension and steering systems were redesigned for improved directional stability and steering response linearity. Four-wheel anti- lock brakes became an option on Town & Country, while an all-wheel drive alternative was introduced on Caravan, Voyager and Caravan C/V.
 In 1992, Chrysler made a driver's-side air bag standard equipment in all its minivans. An integrated child seat was introduced and an all- wheel drive version of the Town & Country was offered for the first time. New quad seats were also introduced.
 Use of the ozone-friendly air conditioning refrigerant, R134A, was introduced on all Chrysler minivans for 1993, as was a quieter, higher capacity heater/air conditioning fan. Caravan and Voyager received a new sports suspension package, as well as a quad seating tilt feature, plus a full stainless steel exhaust system.
 And for 1994, the pattern of steady, evolutionary product enhancements continues unabated. Today, Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth minivans are among the most comfortable, powerful, fuel-efficient and car-like minivans on the market, along with offering the best and most efficient package.
 As Chrysler moves its product line into the next decade and the next century, its minivans will remain a symbol of the company's commitment to innovation and dedication, while setting new standards of excellence for the industry.
 -0- 11/3/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Kowaleski of Chrysler, 313-576-8099/

CO: Chrysler Corporation ST: Missouri, Michigan IN: AUT SU:

KE-TO -- DE011 -- 0028 11/03/93 10:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 3, 1993

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