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Who knows why automakers seem attracted to the utilitarian nature and claustrophobic accomodations of panel vehicles lately, but we're not complaining. Dodge is the latest to join the fray by offering up renderings of the Nitro Panel Wagon concept that will be displayed at this year's SEMA show near the end of the month. As per the requirements for being labeled a panel van, the Nitro Panel Wagon features windowless side panels and a flat load floor. Mike Ellis of DCX tells us that designers are also going to pimp the Panel Wagon with some cool ground effects. Whether that means neon tubes lighting up the frame or just new front and rear bumpers plus side skirts remains to be seen, although we can clearly see some exterior mods on the rendered vehicle that leads us to believe the latter (please don't put neons on your concept, Chrysler).

Unlike the Chevy HHR Panel that was recently announced for production, Chrysler is not saying if there's a production line in this panel van's future. We're all about panel vans, so we say do it. Chevy cannot be allowed to be the only domestic automaker with a production panel van. A panel wagon war between the domestics is exactly what we need right now to take our minds off of quarterly earnings and monthly sales figures. You don't think it'd be an irresponsible use of precious resources, do you Whatev, build 'em.

More renderings after the jump...
 

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AUTO SHOWS:
2007 Dodge Nitro Panel Wagon
SEMA 2006 seems to be the year of the Panel Van - Chevy has brought their production HHR Panel, and Dodge made this show-only Nitro Panel Wagon. Unlike the relatively pedestrian Chevy, this Nitro is as butch as it gets.

Courtesy of new springs, this small wagon has lost two inches in height. That same two inches can be found in extra width, though -- the enormous fender flares are an inch wider on each side, and flank twenty-inch Alcoa forged wheels.
 
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