A very interesting post popped up on Allpar’s forums lately. An insider at the minivan plant in Windsor going by the screenname gdmuscle published the following posts describing the next generation RU minivan to the Allpar forums:
Well this Tuesday I saw for the first time a fully assembled RU unit roll on the assembly line. Let me tell you it is clearly a fully redesigned vehicle from front to back. Again as we all know they are taking a cue from the 200 styling but throwing in minor changes and tweaks so not to make it look like they took the front of the 200 and pasted it on the minivan. The rear durango tail lights from the spy photo’s are very misleading as someone suggested. I can honestly say they don’t even look close to what the spy photos show.
The D pillar is somewhat odd though, I don’t understand what the thinking was, it is sort of hard to explain. The rear quarter windows don’t open for venting this time, they are fixed a design choice for the way the sliders work. Also the D pillar is oddly shaped without pictures it’s hard to explain, but they should of made them blend in with the glass much like what GM does with their D pillars on SUV’s. Until a unit is on the parking lot and someone has taken a photo it’s very difficult to actually explain in detail.
There are 4 units being built this week for pilots and more to come, after shutdown in the first 2 weeks of July. The pilot should be around Windsor for testing. Much of the presentation I was shown, displayed a unit with all the bells and whistles. I don’t see many fully decked out units to be sold as you know the cost of adding options skyrocket. From what I saw there are options that will entice tech lovers.
Just a reminder these pilot vans if someone would take a spy photo somehow, are just pilots. When we build pilots most of the parts put into the units are not what is going into the finished product. Most of these are parts that are used to see if they fit and test out the equipment, but for the most part they are what will be used. So the colors of the dash might be off, door panels I guess you get the idea.
He made a follow-up post this past Tuesday:
Well, I haven’t posted in a while been very busy at the plant. It’s very difficult to actually explain how the van looks but we have built some pilot models. Some of the models are fully loaded with all the toys and the panoramic sunroof. The sunroof is quite unique in that it basically is almost half of the roof, plus a smaller one at the third row seat that don’t open.
It’s very difficult to have a good look as there are so many vendors and pilot teams all over the van working on it. I had a good look at the dash and headliners along with various other features. The dash is somewhat like the 700C but with a few tweaks, the 8.4 inch screen is optional and is quite attractive and doesn’t look tacked on like previous models. There is no overhead consoles anymore, but what they have added are surround sound speakers it looks like on all 4 corners of the headliner. (Editors note: The image at the top of this article is the 700C interior)
The van is much wider than previous models and from what a coworker had said it’s about 4 inches total. The seats look to be much more comfortable than previous gen and as was stated earlier the stow and go have been redesigned. Many of the jobs are being eliminated as the new model has no overhead consoles and other features that the previous gen had. As soon as I get a good look at the finish product I will post more tidbits.
As a side note about photos it looks like 2 people have lost their jobs and was escorted out of the plant by security. We were warned and asked to sign an agreement not to take photos I guess they wanted to test that out. The van looks great if your in the market for one, I’d wait for this one the plant will shut down for 2 weeks July 3rd let’s see what they have in store once we get up and going again.
PS. JackRachett has a couple of drawings one of them seems close can’t remember which order but the last one with the white color. The Rear Quarter looks a little close put larger wheel arches more rounded body sides, and a meaner 200 front with projector headlights.
Wow, that’s a lot of detail about the new vans. Could his reference about the D-Pillar be that funky looking design we saw in the 700C concept?
Regardless, head on over to Allpar and read the entire thread about the next gen minivans (gdmuscle’s tidbits start around page 12 and there’s a lot more than that)… and sign up while you are at it! You’ll find no better place for Mopar discussion on the web!