By on October 10, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Billet Silver

Transitioning from one model to the next isn’t always a straightforward task for automakers. Forecasting and assembling the outgoing model before retooling for the incoming model is not an exact science.

For the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler’s replacement for the Town & Country minivan, the task was not made any easier by the presence of a value-oriented competing model inside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ own fold. Through the first three-quarters of 2016, the Dodge Grand Caravan has set a pace that may end with the best calendar year of sales since 2012, if not 2007.

The Grand Caravan’s position atop the minivan leaderboard and the large number of Chrysler Town & Countrys that needed to be cleared out created uninspiring Pacifica sales numbers for the first few months of its life-cycle.

But Pacifica sales last month were 23-percent higher than in August, and the Chrysler Pacifica very nearly became America’s best-selling minivan in September 2016.

Only a matter of time?

Overall, September 2016 was a disappointing month for minivan sales in America. After rising 23 percent through the first seven months of the year — strengthened by a comparison with early 2015, when FCA’s Windsor, Ontario, minivan plant was shutdown — minivan sales dipped slightly in August and then fell 9 percent in September.

With only 39,818 sales, September represented the lowest-volume month for minivan sales since January. The sector’s share of the overall industry slid from 3.0 percent in September 2015 to 2.8 percent in August 2016. At the end of the current model’s term, Honda Odyssey volume fell 10 percent. Nissan’s oft-ignored Quest plunged by more than two-thirds. The Kia Sedona stood out with a modest 0.4-percent uptick, but September’s top-selling Toyota Sienna took a 12-percent dive.

Overall, with combined Pacifica/Town & Country volume up 10 percent and nearly 8,200 extra sales from the Grand Caravan, FCA’s share of the minivan market grew to 46 percent from 44 percent a year ago.

Minivan
Sept.
2016
Sept.
2015
%
Change
9 mos.
2016
9 mos.
2015
%
Change
Toyota Sienna
 9,269 10,527 -12.0% 99,510 104,573 -4.8%
Chrysler Pacifica
9,172 35,572
Honda Odyssey
8,954 9,924 -9.8% 94,835 98,834 -4.0%
Dodge Grand Caravan
8,179 9,941 -17.7% 102,732 65,383 57.1%
Kia Sedona
 3,051 3,039 0.4% 37,355 29,864 25.1%
Chrysler Town & Country
981 9,249 -89.4% 57,926 62,085 -6.7%
Nissan Quest
209 656 -68.1% 10,055 7,609 32.1%
Mazda 5
 3 381 -99.2%  365 7,758 -95.3%
Total
39,818 43,717 -8.9% 438,350 376,106 16.5%

Year-to-date, 45 percent of the minivans sold in the United States have been Chrysler and Dodge products, a massive increase from 34 percent in 2015 when, again, FCA minivan sales had plunged because of factory retooling.

As for the Pacifica on its own, the top-ranked Sienna was only 97 sales ahead of the Chrysler by September’s end. (The Pacifica trailed the leading Dodge Grand Caravan by 3,113 units in August; the Sienna by 2,823 sales.)

Since its end-of-April launch, 35,572 Chrysler Pacificas have reached American driveways. With the 200 sedan dying and no replacement in sight, the Pacifica is a hugely important fixture in the Chrysler lineup. 54 percent of Chrysler brand sales were produced by minivans in September, up from 36 percent a year ago.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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21 Comments on “Finally, Chrysler Pacifica Sales Took Off In September 2016...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I wonder if FCA’s ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic will have the same reliability as their awful 2.7 V6 did.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Clearly they did some work on their Dad Brand.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I must admit I find the styling appealing. Don’t know about the rest, however.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Is there a ’17 Grand Caravan coming out, or is it being euthanized?

    Oddly, all the vehicles on Dodge’s website are ’16 models. You’d think they’d be showing ’17s by October.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Yes, but here’s the big question: How many of these did FCA pump right into fleets, ala Chrysler 200? We’ve seen this “it’s a HUUUUUUUGE hit right out of the gate” story before from FCA. Or did they learn their lesson?

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Yes. All the rental companies in town received hundreds of these. I live in one of the biggest rental car markets in the world. They are flush with these.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    More likely, the suttle changes in the TV ads from dickheaded Jim to Hotpockets Jim stopped alienating female buyers who resented his crass behavior.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    TIL the Pacifica has an optional inflatable compact spare tire, sitting behind the 3rd row on the driver’s side. Not available on the hybrid nor vacuum cleaner equipped vehicles. Bummer.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    I know I’m in the minority here but I see these on the road and they’re still awfully big (the same goes for Odyssey, Sienna, etc.). Seems like the old Mazda MPV, Mazda5 and Kia Rondo sized minivans are officially extinct from the US market.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Those vans went extinct because their third rows were small and there was no cargo space behind them.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Vans sell like crazy here in Utah. The big family Mormon culture drives it I’m sure. Utah must have the highest per capita van numbers in the country. Anyone have the van numbers for Utah?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      All minivans have grown in height and width, mostly because (at least, in my theory) of the growth of child seats. Yes, length has grown too, but most of that is in the overhang. You can’t directly compare an old SWB minivan to a new one because new SWB minivans don’t exist; they’ve been replaced by midsize CUVs. A Pacifica has only a 2.5″ longer wheelbase than the original Town & Country minivan (but it does have nearly 10″ more front and rear overhang).

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Small vans are less profitable than compact SUVs that can sell for the same price. So why bother? Pretty much the CUVs took over the older smaller van places and if you’re desperate for a smaller van you can still buy a Ford Transit Connect or Ram Promaster van. I’m looking seriously at those two for the fact that it’s cheaper to run than most CUVs and offers way more practical space. But they’re plain and largely come with less features. :S

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is one sexy MFing van. If I were in the market for something as big as a Tahoe I’d be all over this. Thank God I’m not though.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    GC/T&C were really good bang-for-buck. Wonder if they kept ’em going (alongside the Pacifica), if they would still sell. Kind of like buying last year’s computer/phone/whatever – there are people who don’t need the latest/greatest and can appreciate a good deal.. Families with 4-5 kids especially.


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