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DaimlerChrysler raising prices

One minivan going up 5.2%; 4 others will see smaller changes

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DETROIT — DaimlerChrysler has raised the U.S. base price 5.2 percent on the longer-version Dodge Grand Caravan ES and made smaller changes in prices of four other models of the new minivans that it hopes will stem the company's declining sales in a category it pioneered.

Prices for the extended-wheelbase 2001 Grand Caravan ES will start at $29,725, up from $28,250 for 2000. The new version adds standard features including a three-zone automatic temperature control, dual power sliding doors and four-wheel disc brakes.

The third-largest automaker in the United States began shipping longer-version Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans this week, and plans to start making regular-wheelbase models in October. Its U.S. minivan sales in July fell 29 percent from the year-earlier month as buyers waited for the redesigned models or bought rivals' products. The company, which pioneered minivans in 1983, has overhauled the vehicles for the first time since 1995.

Other price changes announced today include Dodge Grand Caravan Sport, reduced 1 percent to $24,890 from $25,135; Chrysler Town & Country LX, which is replacing the Grand Voyager, cut less than 1 percent to $25,045 from $25,135; Town & Country LXi, increased 1.1 percent to $29,790 from $29,470; and Town & Country Limited, raised less than 1 percent to $35,465 from $35,320.

Last week, the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker raised discounts on some 2000-model minivans to as much as $3,000 and boosted other incentives on Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. The move came a day after the company said July sales fell 12 percent.