Minivans are affordable people carriers. They appeared in the late 70's with the Chrysler Voyager and the Renault Espace. Crossover slowly but surely taking over the minivan segment.

There’s nothing like attaching your brand into a movie that’s expected to be a box office hit. You know that just being mentioned in the movie is about as good as any kind of advertising will give you.

Peugeot seems to think that attaching itself to a highly-anticipated movie, like Toy Story, and making a commercial featuring the lovable Woody would go over, not just to the die-hard fans of the ground-breaking CGI movie franchise, but also to fans of anything and everything that’s involved with the automobile. So they did, and the result is a 30-second spot featuring a Pegueot 5008 and Woody, who searches the car for his hat, only to have the 5008 demonstrate a pretty nifty feature of its car, specifically the versatile seating and its rear child mirror.

We don’t really know what this commercial accomplishes other than that the tie-up with a movie like Toy Story will surely give Pegueot as much exposure as it can possibly expect. And at the end of the day, as with the tenet of commercials, exposure is the name of the game and the 5008 being seen in a commercial featuring Woody from Toy Story is about as good an exposure as the French automaker can get with these sort of movie tie-ups.

Source: YouTube

Days after BMW announced that they would be recalling their 1-Series over possible fire risks, Volkswagen is joining them on the sidelines by recalling over 15,000 of their very own Routan minivans that were manufactured between June 2008 and July 2009 because of similar fire risks that could potentially lead to something much more catastrophic.

According to Volkswagen, the problem with the Routan minivans stems from the door hinges on some models that could tear because of wire insulation and thus, could lead to a short circuit and, worse case scenario, could possibly start a fire.

The Routan’s problems have also plagued the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country with which Chrysler issued a similar recall earlier this month that covered about 284,831 units of the two models.

Volkswagen has already announced that owners of the Routan will have their vans inspected - and if necessary, repaired - including both the wire assembly and the sliding door power drive unit, as well as two harnesses that will be tied together and be rerouted under the sliding door weather strip. All repairs will also come at no expense to the vehicle owner.

Remember that scene from Anchorman where Ron Burgundy and his news team got involved in a "News Team Royal Rumble" with its local news competition that included, among others Tim Robbins, Luke Wilson, and a Mexican Ben Stiller?

This is what this Dodge Grand Caravan commercial looks like, only that they’ve got people wearing cat, mice, and dog masks. Huh? Where did that come from? Well, Dodge is promoting their new Grand Caravan as a vehicle that "has everything, you can do anything". Apparently, that "anything" also involves showing up for a warehouse brawl while wearing Garfield on your face.

Come to think of it, they do deserve props for this out-of-the-box ’cats versus mice versus dogs’ idea. It’s different and unique, but we don’t see how this fits into Dodge’s attempt at targeting a younger audience, unless they’re also going for the young-and-weird market.

Source: Dodge

Ninety years is a pretty long time. When you live to be 90, you have every reason to celebrate and you can do it any way you can. Mazda seems to be running on this train-of-thought because they’re rolling out just about any special-edition vehicle they can, even if these vehicles don’t really count as ’special-editions’ in every sense of the word.

The first couple of models unveiled for the festivities were the Mazda3 90th Anniversary edition and the Mazda3 Sport Anniversary edition which made sense because the Mazda3 is actually one of their moneymaking cars. The latest one to be introduced by Mazda is the commemorative Biante 20S Navi Special minivan. Yes, that’s right; a special-edition minivan. Go figure.

The limited-run Biante 20S Navi will only come in 400 units and will go on sale today. Prospective buyers have the choice to opt for a 2.0-liter DISI engine linked to a 5-speed auto or a 4WD with a similar 2.0-liter DISI engine, only this time, it will be linked to a 4-speed auto transmission. Actually, apart from a voice-controlled HDD navigation system, a star-stop system, and parking assist, this special edition minivan pretty much is no different from the standard model, which once again leads us to believe that Mazda will do just about anything to celebrate birthday number 90 by slapping a special-edition tag on all of its models. And we won’t be surprised if they actually do that.

But hey, it’s not like they’re doing it for kicks, right? So, we’ll cut them a little slack.

Source: Mazda

We don’t know how this falls under the parameters of auto safety, but if Chrysler’s thinking of adding a new feature to the Chrysler Town & Country , we don’t think a torpedo - or two - would be such a good idea. Then again, it just might come in handy when you’re running late for your kids’ soccer practice. Or maybe not.

Let’s just hope that whoever owns this car doesn’t have a habit of being perpetually late and he or she won’t have a need to use it.

Source: Jalopnik

It’s the hip-hop video to end all hip-hop videos and the funny thing is, it features a suburban American family that takes their affection for the 2010 Toyota Sienna SE minivan to a new level. Predictably enough, the family calls themselves the ’Siennas’.

Don’t be fooled; mom and pops can both carry a tune and they’re all down and diggity with their "swagger wagon".

Despite the hip-hop beat of the music video, we’re not sure how it accomplishes the goal of appealing to middle class parents who, for better or worse, aren’t as hip to the times as the Siennas are in this video. Nevertheless, the "Swagger Wagon" is as catchy a hip-hop soundtrack as we’ve heard from a car commercial in a long time.

Watch the video and get a kick out the Siennas doing their best hip-hop impersonation.

Source: Toyota

Saab’s new 2010 9-5 sedan has been a regular fixture in so many auto shows, we couldn’t even count them anymore. Despite its continued presence, we’ve yet to see the new 9-5’s five-door variant - a 9-5 SportsCombi or a 9-5 Estate, whichever you prefer.

Then, straight from a brochure, or maybe a line-up presentation, comes this image, albeit blurry, of what looks to be the Saab we’ve been waiting quite a while for. While there hasn’t been any announcements from Saab regarding this potential five-door vehicle, we’re still free to speculate, right?

So, we’re speculating that this could very well be the new 9-5 Estate and, should our hunch prove to be right, this ride feeds into our high expectations of the car quite well. We’re just hoping that Saab sheds some light on this matter, even if it’s just a sliver of what we can expect.

Or maybe this is already it, at which we’d like to ask you folks to give your two cents on the car. Neigh or Hey?

Source: Autoblog NL

The volcanic ash that put a stranglehold on the airline industry in Europe caught a lot of vacationers and travellers off-guard. However, while some chose to just sit and wait out the whole situation, others decided that sitting and waiting for the ash cloud to clear wasn’t something worth waiting for.

A family of vacationers in Barcelona, Spain were one of thousands that were stranded because of this perilous situation. Determined to make it back to the UK as soon as possible, they decided to hail a cab from the UK to come pick them up in Barcelona. True story!

The cab’s owner, Garry Smith, took his son and hopped in their Hyundai i800 van and made the 2,500-mile trip that lasted the better part of two days. "We got the call at 9:30am on Tuesday and were on the road within an hour to collect four people," Smith recalls. "I took my son Ben so we could share the driving and booked the Eurotunnel crossing on route. When the passengers heard what car we were in they asked if we could take six people which, because of the car, we were happy to do."

The whole voyage ended up costing the vacationing family a staggering £4,600.50 - $7,050! - in cab charges, but Smith, in an act befitting of sainthood - ok, not really - decided to only charge the stranded folks £1,850 - US$2,830 - for the whole trip. According to Smith, he decided to reduce the price because, in his own words, "it wouldn’t really be fair to charge them the meter rate."


Source: Hyundai

The Fiat Panda is the perfect car for those leaving in crowed cities, but who, in the same time want to enjoy the comfort of a 4x4 model. The model is offered in two versions: 4x4 and 4x4 Climbing, with a range of two engines, two interior specifications and ten body colors.

Under the hood there is a choice of two engines: a 1.2 that develops a maximum power of 60 bhp at 5000 rpm and a torque of 102 Nm at 2500 rpm and the 70 bhp 1.3 Multijet at 4000 rpm and torque of 145 Nm at 1500 rpm. When equipped with the first power unit, the Panda 4x4 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 20 seconds and reaches a top speed of 145 km/h (when equipped with a second-generation turbodiesel engine, the figures are 16 seconds and 155 km/h respectively).

The 2010 Panda is offered with a Nav Plus infotelematic system, headlight washers and a Dualdrive electric power steering system (the latter is standard over the range). The new car is also unequalled when it comes to safety. Beginning with its outstanding braking system: on versions equipped with the 1.2 Fire power unit, all wheels are fitted with 240 mm diameter discs (the front ones are ventilated) that rise to 257 mm on Multijet versions. The Panda 4x4 offers as standard ABS with EBD complete with an antislip function during deceleration (MSR).

Press release after the jump.

For the big families out there Fiat has created the new Doblo - vehicle designed to meet a need for functionality and comfort that makes the most of interior space and can accommodate up to seven people.

The new Doblo will be offered with a choice of 4 power units at its launch: a 95 HP petrol engine and three diesel Multijet engines, 90, 105 and 135 HP, which will later be joined by a Natural Power engine with dual fuel system (petrol and methane) and an additional diesel engine with Dualogic robotized gearbox.

It features a a central shield and side bumpers perfectly integrated with the body, pronounced wheel arch and sloping shoulder. The interior was designed to offer functionality and create attractive, welcoming environments through combination of colors, materials and trims.

Press release after the jump.

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