While some auto manufacturers appear to be giving up on the oxymoronic full-size minivan segment (Ford, Mazda, take a bow), Daimler-Chrysler appears to be doing just the opposite. Today, company officials announced that they will invest up to $1 billion dollars into the St. Louis plants that manufacture both the company's minivans and profit-center Ram pickups. 

As is de rigueur these days, DCX made the decision with a few carrots courtesy the local government. More to the point, Fenton, Missouri coughed up a tax abatement good for $24 million over the next 14 years (given an investment of at least $531m), and the potential for an additional $22m from 2010-2020 if the automaker pours in another $500 million. The plants employ some 5,500 workers, whose incomes total almost $20,000 more than the average Missourian. 

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