|Sixteen years ago, Fulton was driving on Highway I-80 when he
spotted a car hauler carrying an unusual-looking vehicle. He followed it to the
dealership, test drove it and bought it. It was a Dodge Caravan -- one of the world's
"In addition to buying one of the world's first minivans, we chose
Chuck Fulton and his family because they are loyal minivan owners -- they didn't stop
after buying one, in fact they went on to buy two more of our Dodge Caravans over the
course of 16 years," said Holden. "When we learned that Mr. Fulton followed the
car hauler to the dealership in 1983, we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate this
historic sales milestone and the 16th anniversary of the minivan by bringing the car
hauler to him."
He may not have realized it at the time, but Fulton's actions put him in the
"mini-vanguard" of a consumer movement in family transportation -- the minivan
revolution begun by the former Chrysler Corporation and still led today by
DaimlerChrysler. He was a pioneer in the ever-growing population of minivan owners that
today numbers nearly 15 million in the U.S. alone.
The car hauler carrying the company's 8 millionth minivan -- a red Dodge Grand Caravan
ES -- was part of a "Thanksgiving Day" parade complete with a marching band,
jugglers, clowns, unicyclists, neighbors, 50 dealership employees from Bob Mickey's Cedar
Rapids Dodge, and executives from DaimlerChrysler. As Holden presented Fulton with the
keys to the eight millionth minivan, a helicopter hovered overhead with a sign reading,
"Thanks 8 Million, Chuck!" Fulton's neighbors participated in the festivities as
they enjoyed a complimentary breakfast courtesy of DaimlerChrysler.
The minivan was born on November 2, 1983 at the former Chrysler Corporation's assembly
plant in Windsor, Ontario. When the company introduced its "magic wagon" 16
years ago, it had little idea that the minivan would go on to replace the station wagon,
save a Fortune 500 company from bankruptcy and forever change the landscape of the world's
highways and driveways.
The minivan segment has come a long way since its initial model year sales of 100,000
units. In fact, the minivan segment reached an all-time high in model year 1999 with sales
of 1.5 million units, representing eight percent of all new vehicles sold in North
America. With 15 competitive nameplates from which to choose, Chrysler and Dodge continue
to command 40 percent of the minivan segment with sales of 607,000 units in 1999, nearly
200,000 more units than its nearest competitor, General Motors. Since creating the
minivan, DaimlerChrysler has introduced 38 minivan firsts and earned more than 130 awards
for its impressive lineup of Chrysler and Dodge minivans. The company sells more than
600,000 minivans every year in more than 70 countries throughout the world.
Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country are manufactured in St.
Louis, Missouri; Windsor, Ontario; and Graz, Austria.