Chrysler Group, the long-standing leader and inventor of the minivan market segment, will host a "Stand By Your Van" contest at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the minivan and the introduction of its new 2005 Chrysler and Dodge minivans, the company will invite 20 minivan fans to compete for a brand new minivan. The contestant who is able to keep one hand on a new minivan and stand longer than any of the other contestants will drive home in their choice of a brand new 2005 Chrysler Town & Country or 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan. Interested minivan enthusiasts are invited to fill out an entry form and questionnaire at by no later than 6 p.m., Friday, January 23. To be considered for the contest, contestants must write one paragraph explaining why they would like to compete for a brand new 2005 Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan. Twenty qualified contestants will compete in the Stand By Your Van contest which will take place at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show in the McCormick Place South building beginning Thursday, February 5 at 8:45 a.m. "We wanted to host a fun contest to celebrate our long-standing leadership in the minivan market segment and the introduction of our new 2005 Chrysler and Dodge minivans," said Mike Donoughe, vice president, Family Vehicle Product Team, Chrysler Group. "Given that Chicago is one of our top five minivan markets and puts on the nation's largest consumer auto show, we thought it was the perfect place to host the Stand By Your Van contest. May the best minivan fan win!" The contestant who wins the contest will be one of the first consumers to experience what Chrysler Group calls a "minivan-first" -- the Stow 'n Go seating and storage system, a system that allows customers to fold both second- and third-row seats into the floor in approximately 30 seconds. Stow 'n Go is one of 15 new features Chrysler says will be featured in the company's new minivans, which it says will offer more safety features and a refined driving experience. Specific rules and requirements of Stand By Your Van contestants include:

  • Contestants must stand with one hand on either a new 2005 Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan minivan at all times. They may not lean, sit, or kneel

  • During the competition, contestants will be permitted a 15-minute break every three hours, during which time they may leave the contest area

  • Chrysler Group will offer participants food and beverages throughout the duration of the contest

  • Certified contest judges will watch for disqualifications, such as contestants removing a hand from the minivan, sitting, leaning or any other contest infraction

    Since introducing the minivan 20 years ago, Chrysler Group has sold more than 10 million minivans worldwide and has a 38 percent share of the minivan market. The minivan market continues to be vibrant with industry-wide sales averaging 1.2 million for the past 10 years. Dodge Caravan, Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country are built in Windsor, Ontario; St. Louis, Missouri; and Graz, Austria.