By on May 19, 2016

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Plus

Production of the world’s most recognizable minivan might not end next year after all.

If a report published by the Windsor Star is correct, the Dodge Grand Caravan will see its lifespan extended until 2019, all thanks to delayed plans for a Chrysler Pacifica-based crossover.

The Star quotes John McCabe, president and CEO of AutoForecast Solutions, who claims Fiat Chrysler Automobiles got cold feet about building a new crossover at its Windsor assembly plant.

“Our latest information points to FCA extending the Caravan for a couple of more years and holding off plans on the crossover right now,” said McCabe. “This speaks to the fluid nature of FCA’s product plans going forward.”

FCA wouldn’t confirm the Grand Caravan’s delayed date with the gallows. The automaker’s Canadian spokesperson, LouAnn Gosselin, told the Star, “We have nothing to announce.”

When FCA axed the Town & Country in favor of the 2017 Pacifica — a tech-laden vehicle designed to lure crossover buyers back to the minivan fold — the entry-level Grand Caravan was kept alive until a new vehicle could be found for Windsor.

Was the answer was right under their noses? The Grand Caravan’s price seems immune to inflation, and sales remain quite healthy. If the report proves true, it’s doubtful there’ll be sleep lost over the decision.

Dino Chiodo, president of the labor union representing Windsor employees, claimed, “There is still a niche market for a low-cost people mover,” adding that a new vehicle posed a risk to workers if it failed to sell.

FCA seems to be on the fence over future applications of the Pacifica platform. When production kicked off in Windsor earlier this month, CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned the platform was flexible enough for a new generation of the Brampton, Ontario-built Chrysler 300.

The Grand Caravan has been in production since 1987.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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98 Comments on “Dodge Grand Caravan Given a Stay of Execution: Report...”


  • avatar
    65corvair

    I think calling the new minivan a “Pacifica” was a major mistake. Caravan and Town and Country are still good names. Pacifica was a name that failed. Not as bad as Vega, but still a loser. You are not going to trick someone into a minivan with a “new” name, just lose loyal customers looking for a Caravan or Town and Country’s.

    • 0 avatar
      IAhawkeye

      Agreed. All I see when I hear Pacifica, is a bland boring crossover from a dark time period for Chysler products. Not a name I’d ever get excited over.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        It might seem that way.
        And I remember the one headline “The Pacifica, Chrysler’s Answer To A Question Never Asked”
        But THEN the entire Crossover category exploded.
        So say what you want about the car…it was a great plan with just a poor engine.It was ahead of its time.
        The early power was pretty low.

        However, I still like the looks and the later versions.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          The first Pacifica was a great plan with a poor engine and an incredibly poor rollout that completely ruined the public’s perception of the car. Release was skewed too heavily towards fully loaded top trim models that were too expensive. Its amazing how quickly that car has been forgotten and how rare they are on the roads nowadays, considering it has been less than 10 years since they ended production.

          I always thought the Pacifica deserved a second gen, but by then Chrysler had no money. Still a better idea than the Aspen though.

          The Dart also kind of mirrors the first gen Pacifica. So so engines and awful rollout.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            Seriously this though. I can’t remember that last time I saw one, seems like years ago. I looked up a picture before I commented just to be sure I was even talking about the right vehicle. As a side note, idk if ever saw a Pacifica in any other color except white or silver

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            This must be regional, as I see at least one Pacifica every 1-3 days.

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            The light blue and beige seemed to be fairly popular (for Pacificas). Surprisingly black did not seem to be all that popular.

            It’s possible it’s a regional thing. My small city, for example, probably has the highest concentration of Isuzu Axioms in the country.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            Definitely a regional thing then I guess, we have a TON of Aspens though to make up for our lack of Pacificas.

            So you have 2? Must’ve had an aggressive Isuzu dealer near you..or just an Isuzu dealer at all. I actually saw my first Axiom about a month ago on the way home from school. Probably the only one I’ll ever see. Crazy.

          • 0 avatar
            DweezilSFV

            Same mistake they made with the k Cars. And GM with the Js.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Cue FCA apologists.

        “Nobody remembers the Pacifica because it was done 2+ years ago and there’s no internet or photos of it, shutap.”

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          They’re probably right, Corey.

          No one bought the damn thing to begin with.

          But I still don’t know why they didn’t stick with “Town and Country.” Seems Chrysler marketing is an ongoing sh!t show.

        • 0 avatar
          MrGreenMan

          Kudos to you for taking the high road instead of saying, “Nobody remembers the Pacifica because all those brain cells are dead.”

          They could make a woodie edition of this new wagon and call it the Pacifica Town & Country. Put a Hemi in it.

          • 0 avatar
            Johnster

            I’m sure that somewhere, some enterprising dealer is busy fabricating the aftermarket Pacifica Town & Country at this very minute. Perhaps he’ll even add a vinyl roof.

            Back in the day, much was made of the fact that the then-new Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable station wagons did not come with simulated wood-grain paneling, even as an option. Fortunately the aftermarket filled the gap and before you knew it you could buy a Ford Taurus Squire with realistic dealer-installed simulated wood grain on the sides.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            That might work.

            I’ve seen a couple of the new Pacificas in the flesh, and except for the Gremlin-esque D-pillar, it looks nice. Better than in pictures.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “Gremlin-esque D-pillar”

            /That’s/ where I saw it before! Also, the Studebaker Avanti.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Normal people, if they remember the first Pacifica, don’t remember it as a bad car. The effect will be null.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      “Not as bad as Vega”

      Or Corvair.*

      The Caravan has been the bread and butter since the beginning – they should have dumped the Town and Country, and stuck with the Caravan.

      * – I’ve owned two Vegas, and a Corvair, and I’m still an NTCA member.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Town and Country sounds like a name for old people. Which accurately reflects the current buyer group, but isn’t where FCA wants to go.

      Pacifica is a much better choice. No one except car nerds remembers the old one, and if they did it wouldn’t really be a bad thing. It was ahead of its time. And the name sounds vaguely California-ish and youthful.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        They should go back further in history, if they really don’t want peeps to remember. Perhaps the Chrysler Vision, or Chrysler Summit. (I know Summit is a trim on the GC now.)

  • avatar
    brettc

    Saw this yesterday in the Star (when I was searching for news about the Ranger coming back). Canadians buy a lot of Caravans, and with the insanely high starting price of the Pacifica in Canada ($43995 vs $23495 for a GC), I think FCA is wise to continue building them to get a good feel for the take rate on the Pacifica.

    I suspect the Pacifica will probably do well in the U.S. since it starts at $28595, but only time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      For what it’s worth, the Town & Country started around $45k CDN, but has had $10+k in rebates for pretty much its entire life. Still, they sold a TON of $25k Caravans to people who came in for the $19,995 model advertised heavily in your local PostMedia affiliate.

      Mind you, I think they’re going to try and get higher transaction prices on the Pacifica, but hopefully they’ll plan to have something for that end of the market coming soonish.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        This makes sense. The Grand Caravan has a great engine, it’s gotten to be fairly reliable, and while a bit crude it’s a surprisingly practical vehicle for anyone.

        That said, the Pacifica is definitely aiming at a different market. Around here the Town & Country is are popular with upper-middle class people who probably would have previously bought a station wagon, and who find SUVs and Crossovers to be kind of ridiculous. A lot of owners don’t have children. They are single women or retired couples who use them to haul dogs or gardening stuff or antiques.

  • avatar

    I never paid attention to the Jeep brand. I was more interested in the sedans.

    Now that I ride high and mighty in my Jeep SRT, I see more and more Cherokees, old Cherokees, grand Cherokees and Waranglers.

    The JOURNEY succeeds because DESPITE WHAT ALL THE “professional reviewers” say, it’s inexpensive, HUGE and soaks up potholes.

    It’s available with the exact same tech as my JGC SRT.

    If I needed a less expensive people hauler – yeah I’d have one.

    It is rental grade though.

    DESPITE what the “professssssionnnnnnal reviiiiiiiiewwwwwwwwwwerz” say… it SELLS.

    CASH MONEY IS THE BOTTOM LINE.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      BTSR,
      Thanks but as are most of your post really does nothing to add to the discussion, keep up the good work

    • 0 avatar
      mtmmo

      BTSR – It’s hilarious how many folks here are jealous of you. I for one enjoy your posts and have also checked out several of your video’s. I think some folks just can’t fathom hearing the strong opinion (of what I perceive to be) a black Conservative with self made money. I appreciate how genuine and raw your comments are. Reminds me of when I read a Bark or Jack article. I know going in I may not agree with their point of view but there will be no sugar coating at all. I find that very refreshing in this day and age. Keep it up!

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        I just think he has the same failing as I do when it comes to posting.
        I never like what even I write.
        I suck at this.
        And when it comes to actual skill and tech prowess, I am at the back of the class. I have just enough information and skill to cause damage.
        I come across as angry and poor spelling (admittedly) and a poor writer (again, yup). But a lot of this has to be chalked up to just old age. Us old folks have taken and passed required poor dressing and angry classes.
        But other than my wife, lotta folks have fun around me.

        I actually really like a lot of posting here but sometimes they do get nasty. But I am gonna bet these are not people who would seem a fraction as nasty if sitting around bar stools and talking the very same car talk.

        In fact I am betting the talk would all be fun and friendly.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Two of my best friends are blowhards, and I frequently have to tell them to stop talking for the love of god.

      • 0 avatar

        mtmmo – Thank You.

        You may end up seeing my work in Huffington Post. I recently got an offer from their talent department.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        +1

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        MTmmo,
        I really could not care if he black, white, brown, yellow or all the above, but it would be nice if he at least commented on something that related to the story at hand. I would have no issue meeting up with BTSR for a beer at the bar of his choice if he would like. I will even buy the first round.

        Seth

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          Story about an FCA (Dodge) minivan getting a stay of execution despite rumored plans to replace it with an FCA CUV, he comments on the Journey (yet another FCA _UV) with reference to his own FCA (Jeep) experience and bias, … Dunno, Journey is retro tech FCA, Caravan is retro tech FCA, both sell despite lousy reviews, … what topic are you hoping to stick to? FCA staying vague in hopes of getting labor concessions in exchange for something they’re wanting to do anyway??

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            One little point: “FCA staying vague…” is how the Fiat people have always operated, in Italy, as well as in Brazil. As our former Brazilian writer noted, you can’t trust the rumors, estmates or predictions/promises until the subject vehicle rolls off the assembly line.

            Those are the same people running FCA, and they take their cue from Sergio and his continuously revised five year plans. They did the same thing in Italy until the head Agnelli in charge barked out marching orders, and then they operated well.

            Without the dictator at the top making decisions, they’re anything but a well oiled machine. This is why a slam Sergio’s management, he’s a finance guy and consummate deal-maker, but he doesn’t have the chops to run an industrial concern.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            One little point: “FCA staying vague…” is how the Fiat people have always operated, in Italy, as well as in Brazil. As our former Brazilian writer noted, you can’t trust the rumors, estmates or predictions/promises until the subject vehicle rolls off the assembly line.

            Those are the same people running FCA, and they take their cue from Sergio and his continuously revised five year plans. They did the same thing in Italy until the head Agnelli in charge barked out marching orders, and then they operated well.

            Without the dictator at the top making decisions, they’re anything but a well oiled machine. This is why I slam Sergio’s management, he’s a finance guy and consummate deal-maker, but he doesn’t have the chops to run an industrial concern.

            Note: duplicate to correct a word – the edit function is acting up.

        • 0 avatar

          I DO NOT DRINK “beer”

          I only drink sparkling malt liquor and champagne – such as those available from Smirnoff Ice or Bud flavor-o-rita.

  • avatar
    jrhmobile

    I’d be willing to bet a nickel that at least part of the reason for putting the Windsor line change on hold is because FCA would rather find a merger candidate than develop new product.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This write up points to one of my pet peeves of the domestic auto industry, and I guess Acura as well.

    What are the reasons you would drop a brand name that has cache? I don’t recall Toyota ever considering dropping the name ‘Camry’ or Honda the ‘Accord’. Why would Fiatsler drop the T&C name? Everyone knows what that name denotes.

    I will always know instantly what an Integra, Vigor, & Legend were; I can picture them. ILX TLX; I have no clue.

    Perhaps someone here can enlighten me..

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Just because a name is well known doesn’t always mean it has cache. People need to have a *positive* opinion on the brand name, or at the very least neutral.

      The Sebring, for example, is a well known brand name. It has 0 cache and Chrysler was wise to drop it. Of course since they just renamed the same car they just ended up tainting the replacement name.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You know what a Town and Country is, but when you think of one you think of old and probably fat people whose other car is a RV. The name needed replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        They should have picked a fitter dad comedian to represent it, if they want to get away from the Old Country Buffet image!

        One of the Wilson brothers would be suitably funny, acceptable, generally known, and not fatty.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      It really depends what you are going after. If you have a high quality product that has a loyal repeat customer base, you’d be crazy to kill off the name. If you have a mediocre product and want to reposition your new product in the market to a younger and higher income crowd, then you want to change the name.

      Part of the problem is that “minivans” don’t command big bucks in the market. They are not aspirational vehicles and people will only pay so much for them. FCA had some high trim T&C’s but they didn’t sell well, at least not with lots of cash on the hood.

      The Pacifica was supposed to be NOT a minivan (even though it IS a minivan) but some kind of _UV, with the higher prices that implies.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Keeping a profit center with deprecated tooling?

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    The market is there for a low priced minivan and that is what this will be, not everyone can or wants to pony up big bucks for a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      My little sister just purchased a FULLY loaded T&C.
      I showed her the new Pacifica and she loved it.
      But she said she just wanted a big people mver and did not want to experiment with a new model.
      She just wanted a big cargo area and the room to easily and affordably move around all her 4 kids and friends in TX.
      Well, OK. That s the target.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    I’m consistently amazed dealers have Grand Caravan AVPs for $16k-17k brand new, all the time. That’s some impressive amount of utility per dollar. Sucks about that small overlap front test though.

    http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/ratings/images/api-rating-image.ashx?id=3349&width=800

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So they’re going to continue building a van that’s overdue for a refresh, for at least another three years? They’re just phoning it in now. They should change their name to Gaz.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      But it still works, dammit! And at over $10K less than the Japanese options, these things sell. There’s no reason for FCA to walk away from the low-priced end of the market. You want a refreshed product? Go buy the Pacifica.

      Smart move, Sergio.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        1. Profit center.
        2. Fiat product doesn’t/won’t move the same volume.
        3. The whole its not going to be my/our problem in 2019 bc we’re dumping it thing.
        4. Possibly leverage with CAW/Unifor (we let you keep GC, now you do X for us).
        5. Dealer sales/foot traffic even at reduced margins.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      rofl at the last sentence.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Frend-

      Sometime I drive past a old Farming House area. There seem always to be a green GAZ Big Truck (Not like a G-BTSR, ok?) at the facade. I think, “Hey Grango what happened to a GAZ company?” So then I go…

      And when I get to my abodes, I turn on my computer (not a Commodore, newer, ha ha!) and if a internet is work – then I click on “Google”, “Search” “GAZ”. I hear you say, “Grango, What come up..?”

      After GAZelle photo (Get it ? ha) and picture of creative and proud remnant factory frontage in Russia’s manufacture area (Nizldikgi, or something), They make the Skoda Yeti, and they make the Cheverolet’s Aveos.

      Is funny to think to me, there is now the American and European car of a makes like this, all of the Capitalism being produce at such a Communism location of historical concrete and builds.

      All is past, is forgot, say Grango’s opinion.

      Best Fact Regard!

      G Relago

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Assuming the Dodge brand is headed for the scrap heap, there’s little harm in using it to pump out cheap, functional, profitable, crappy product. Thus the extension of both Grand Caravan and Journey. They will hurt the brand over time, but I don’t think Sergio cares.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    140,000+ sales in North America in 2015? I don’t know, I think maybe FCA should stick with their brilliant original plan of just throwing all that away.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If Dodge is going to be a performance brand, then it needs to drop the minivan.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Now, there’s no way Dodge buyers – you know, DODGE buyers – would ever pass on that brand-new, super-swank and MORE EXPENSIVE Pacifica across the showroom for that Grand Caravan with A BAZILLION DOLLARS ON THE HOOD. Wouldn’t happen in a million years. After all, Chrysler salesmen all know the Jedi mind trick and can easily talk minivan buyers into spending more money, right? And as Kia can attest to, better-looking minivans sell with no problem, just because they’re better looking.

    And, yeah, there’s absolutely no way that after they flood the Hertz lots with 1,221,696 Grand Caravans, all of them won’t come on the market a year later as lightly used for $15,000, thus laying waste to Pacifica sales. They learned their lesson with the 200, after all, didn’t they?

    Does this company WANT to fail?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The Dodge Journey will have even less of a reason to exist.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Chrysler’s Pacifica advertisements could be the worst ever. I see that nauseating fat man and turn the channel to avoid whatever he says.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    To give myself a small amount of credit I saw this comming a few days ago when the man in charged was asked about a CUV variation of the Pacifica and he was reluctant to say anything other than maybe, maybe not. I understand also that everyone probably saw this coming a few days ago so not much credit can be given to myself. However I can say that I saw this coming last year when they decided they wanted to end the Dodge and I said there is noway to overcome that amount of volume even if its a low price leader. I got a lot flack for that on these pages from folks but some other did agree. THey still need to do a CUV for both Dodge and Chrysler from the Pacifica however those are going to be expensive to build and sell. Also this does give FCA a chance to work out the bugs from a new platform and 2.5 years from now should be enough time.
    I tend to agree with someone that wrote earlier that this is also ploy to get a sutter. I still think that Nissan should have just bought CDJ when the opportunity presented itself before Fiat. They would have had their truck, minivan and Jeep all in one. Along with a RWD chassis for a low cost sedan from the 300.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    It amazes me how many people think the Town & Country name has “cachet”. It’s been a pedestrian minivan for year. If you want to take inspiration its origins as a swanky wagon that was equally at home in own as in the country, well then call the minivan the Chrysler Mall & Drive-thru.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      before it was a minivan, it was a fake-wood-sided K-car wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Jim Z,
        I had that wood sided K car wagon as a company car , now I gotta grab a drink to forget those good times thanks

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        A brief history of the Town & Country nameplate, copypasted from elsewhere:

        1941-1977: Full-size/C-body wagon.

        1978-81: Mid-size LeBaron (M-body) wagon. Wood paneling optional.

        1982-88: Followed the LeBaron name onto the new K platform. Also available as woodie convertible.

        1990-2016: The minivan we all know and love. Wood paneling was standard through 1991.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    FCA should change the name of this thing to the “Grand Lazarus”, it has been croaked off more times than I can remember.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Last week Enterprise put me in a 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT. I had owned an 06 model. This appeared to be the basic SXT version, with the power doors and gate & Stow & Go, but limited other options, basically a $25,000 van. Still this van had features that my $34,000 when-new (07) Honda Odyssey EX-L doesn’t have. A trip computer, a power tailgate, and the Stow & Go seats. The only thing that I would have ordered that this van didn’t have was a bluetooth stereo. The new Pacifica is better looking *(especially the interior), but the Grand Caravan fits the needs of a lot of people with real world income limitations. The opportunity cost between a $25,000 van and a $35,000 van is 2-3 family vacations. I’d miss those before I’d miss the better styling and leather seats.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This is one of the better decisions that FCA has made. The new Pacifica is a nice looking and modern van which will sell well but it is out of the price range of many families. The Caravan is much less expensive and is on a proven platform that has long been paid for. Dealers also will have a little more leeway in discounting these and can gain sales that would otherwise be lost. Yes there might be more fleet sales to rental agencies but families will still buy an affordable van especially when this is one of few affordable vans on the market which is different than the Chrysler 200 which is competing with many affordable midsize sedans. There are still a lot of Chrysler vans on the market especially Caravans.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    If true, this is a smart move by FCA. Someone needs to make the price leader in any category, and doing it by continuing to build a well proven, tooling fully depreciated vehicle makes all kinds of sense.

    Eons ago VW followed that playbook with the original bug and Volvo made the 240 series for two decades. Eventually everything needs to be fully redesigned, but not every 3-4 years. Once per decade for a 100% redesign with ongoing tweaks and refinements along the way can make good sense for a vehicle which then gives the maximum capability per dollar to the buyer.

  • avatar
    maserchist

    I can’t remember how many rusted through Pacifica sub frames I’ve replaced. I neglect the heck out of a non rusted 05 Dodge GC with a 3.8, it needs a leaky rack replaced & the radiator finally developed plastic tank “micro cracks”. It is time for brake pads all around again. It just won’t stop running …Plymouth T&C essentially the same underpinnings; Chrysler, Dodge, they built a good mass consumed van, mini or …

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    The issue with the Town & Country name is the fact that it’s always mentioned in the same breath with the Caravan. They’re inextricably linked and going with a different name seems like a reasonable attempt to put the Dodge and Chrysler products in separate headspaces, especially with the Caravan soldiering apparently in Malibu Classic mode.


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