It's frightening to think of how quickly the mice would have overtaken us if we hadn't stayed one step ahead of them with better mousetraps. We'll never have to worry about that in our relentlessly re-engineered world, though. Case in point: Chrysler has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an improved design of the already wondrous Stow 'n' Go seating found in the automaker's Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.

Introduced in 2005, the Stow 'n' Go was improved in 2008, and based on the drawings of this third-generation improvement, the new design appears to allow stowage of the second row of seats without having to move the front-row seats forward as much. It look like it also involves fewer operations and moving parts, with a portion of the seatback being incorporated into the flat floor when the seats are stowed, as opposed to having a completely separate cover.

It's possible that the innovation may appear on the next-generation minivans expected in 2015, but Chrysler isn't commenting on the patent.


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  • 19 Comments
      Stinkyboy
      • 11 Months Ago
      I can stow all the seats in my Dodge Grand Caravan in about 20 seconds. Then put them back in the upright position in about 15 seconds. Best idea for the minivan ever!
      David Spillman
      • 11 Months Ago
      Ahh, I see the Honda fanboys have arrived. What I'm wondering is, given power sliding doors, and the power hatch release, why has there been no attempt to automate the seat stowage system in the second row? This would be useful, cool and would add a level of convenience to a segment in which convenience is a priority.
      Hajime1990 #follow
      • 11 Months Ago
      sorry chrysler, we know that you re really proud of this invention, but honda has done this before you. almost twenty years ago. perhaps doing a bit more research would help you save some cash.
        RamSport
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Hajime1990 #follow
        Actually, the American cars had seats that folded into the floor back in the 1960s...they called the cars...station wagons. While we're on the subject, how about the innovative "dual purpose" tailgate on the Ridgeline...also first seen in the mid 1960s on American station wagons. While I agree, a new concept for a "pickup" truck, not a new idea at all.
        fuzzyfish6
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Hajime1990 #follow
        Oh the irony with someone calling out others for not doing research lol.
        Frank
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Hajime1990 #follow
        So Honda had the first fold-down seats. They were nothing like Chrysler's. And Also, Chrysler did not want the have the extras noise associated with Honda's seat design. So Chrysler waited until they could do it right. You didn't know that, did you?
      mary.keana
      • 11 Months Ago
      Are the new stow and go seats big enough to comfortably fit adults now?
      Trace
      • 11 Months Ago
      Or maybe, just maybe they could actually engineer room for full size humans into their vans. I never needed to "stow and go" the seats in my Eurovan. Plenty of room for 7 people, a table and a bed. And that was not the camper version!
        Bernard
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Trace
        I don't think you understand what "stow and go" is about. You stow the seats so you can fit more cargo. Also, iif you can't fit in a Caravan may I suggest a form of exercise and diet that involves less than 9,000 calories a day? Seriously, who can't fit into a Caravan?
          DK
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Bernard
          Maybe they are just uncomfortable seats. I have only sat in them once and I would forgo the stow and go ability for better seats.
      malgu
      • 11 Months Ago
      I remember the seats in my parents '99 Grand Caravan, much more comfortable than these stow and go seats
      Bill Burke
      • 11 Months Ago
      I think Chrysler has a huge investment in maintaining it's position as the leader in minivans. In ways the foreign competition has gotten close, but has not quite matched Dodge and Chrysler in overall minivan versatility, long term quality and value. The next generation minivan will have to have a long shelf life and be a foundation in terms of maintaining a basic structure of creative and flexible design and high quality manufacturing to provide all the reasons more people will choose a Chrysler minivan over all others in this segment for the next decade and beyond. Most people know that Chrysler will consolidate their minivan as either a Chrysler Town and Country or as a Dodge Caravan. I will make my case here on this decision. I would keep the Dodge Caravan as the sole minivan, since the utilitarian aspects of the minivan are more appropriately carried in the Dodge demographic. I'd build two versions, a Caravan on a short wheelbase and a Grand Caravan on a long wheelbase. All Wheel Drive would be an option and Ram can continue to offer a commercial van off the Caravan. Dodge already has the Journey as an established crossover with a solid international following. I'd also continue the Durango as a large SUV. I believe the Chrysler brand would benefit the most from a luxury crossover that shares the basic architecture of the long wheelbase Caravan, but offers the style and luxury that neither the Caravan or the Journey need offer, clearly because the Chrysler brand can demand a premium price point and frankly needs more near luxury product desperately. Chrysler needs to go upscale and needs a large Imperial luxury class sedan derived from the Maserati Quadraporte and a near luxury sports car derived from the Alfa Romeo 4C to fill out the lineup and enhance the brands luxury image. I hope the folks at Chrysler give my suggestions some thought. Keep the Caravan the minivan of the future.
      thumerzs
      • 11 Months Ago
      These would be perfect - if I could order them in a Sienna!
      JamesJ
      • 11 Months Ago
      It looks like you can fit a drive-shaft in between them. It's too bad that they want to discontinue the Dodge Caravan, it still doesn't make sense.
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