The Truth About Cars » chrysler town & country http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:44:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » chrysler town & country http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Chrysler Twins Rank First And Second Among Minivans In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chrysler-twins-ranked-first-second-among-minivans-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chrysler-twins-ranked-first-second-among-minivans-2014/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:02:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932466 Only twice in the last six years have one of the Chrysler Group’s minivans been America’s top-selling minivan. America’s best-selling minivan in 2008 and 2009 was the Honda Odyssey, which also led the segment in 2013. The Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan in 2011. Yet through the first nine months of 2014, not only […]

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2015 Dodge Grand CaravanOnly twice in the last six years have one of the Chrysler Group’s minivans been America’s top-selling minivan. America’s best-selling minivan in 2008 and 2009 was the Honda Odyssey, which also led the segment in 2013. The Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan in 2011.

Yet through the first nine months of 2014, not only is the Chrysler Town & Country America’s top-selling minivan, but its twin, the Dodge Grand Caravan, ranks second in the class, 8431 sales ahead of the third-ranked Odyssey. The Chrysler and Dodge haven’t finished a calendar year as the two top-ranked minivans since 2005. 

Granted, even during the years in which the Odyssey or Sienna led the category, the Chrysler/Dodge twins combined for superior market share. We also know that these vans are fleet favourites, assisting in the generation of volume outside of a retail environment. Moreover, competitors produce higher transaction prices, especially the Odyssey, while the Grand Caravan is geared towards value-minded family buyers.

But the news that these twins combined to finish the months of March, April, May, June, and September as the two leaders of the category is pertinent given FCA’s intentions for their Ontario-assembled vans and the recent growth in the category.

2011 Chrysler Town & CountryAfter five consecutive years of decline ending in 2009, overall minivan volume grew 7% in 2010, 3% in 2011, and 13% in 2012, then declined 4% to a two-year low last year. Minivan sales in 2014 are up 6%, meaning the category is on track for its best year since 2008, when the Odyssey’s two-year reign began.

We published a chart just last month looking at the increased market share of the twins in 2014, rising from 44% during the first eight months of 2013 to 49% this year. With three-quarters under our belt, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan now own 50% of the market, up from 45% a year ago. Town & Country volume is up 19%, a near 18,000-unit improvement. Grand Caravan sales have improved by 12,501 units, a 14% jump. Jointly, their sales are up 17% to 212,411 units, 13.7% of Chrysler Group’s year-to-date volume, up from 13.4% at this time a year ago. (Including the Ram Cargo Van, they account for 14.1% of all Chrysler Group sales.)

Resting on laurels is genuinely thought to be a bad idea. These vans are in need of an update, and their consistently held status of sales leaderboard top dogs hides the fact that so much of their appeal comes down to price. (And Stow ‘N Go!) They’re the least efficient vans in the class. Their second rows aren’t as comfortable or as spacious as the seats in, for example, the Sienna. They don’t offer eight-passenger seating.

Nevertheless, it would be easier to understand FCA’s decision to severely alter the Town & Country/Grand Caravan model structure if the trend was heading in the opposite direction, as it did in 2011, when their market share decreased to 41.7% from 45% in 2010. On the other hand, should an automaker stick to tried-and-true product plans in a category that’s declined in size by 48% over the last decade, even if that category is showing moderate signs of renewed health?

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Chrysler Shutting Windsor Plant For 12 Weeks To Re-Tool For “Stunning” Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-shutting-windsor-plant-12-weeks-re-tool-stunning-minivan/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921442 In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country. According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough […]

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In preparation for a “stunning” new minivan, Chrysler will shut their Windsor, Ontario assembly plant for three months to re-tool for the all new vehicle, expected to be sold exclusively as a Chrysler Town & Country.

According to the Windsor Star, Chrysler is investigating how to run the plant flat out so that there is enough minivan inventory to tide over dealers and consumers until the introduction of the new vehicle.

The shutdown is expected to bring major upgrades to the plant, which is alreading building 1,400 vans a day on three shifts. Although the nature of the upgrades has not been disclosed, it will likely be able to build more than just the minivan, since the new van will ride on a flexible architecture shared with other FCA products. However, no other products have been allocated to the plant, and Unifor, the labor union representing the plant’s workers, is reported to be hard at work to secure a future crossover for Windsor.

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Chrysler Minivan Plant Hiring, Outsiders Need Not Apply http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chrysler-minivan-plant-hiring-outsiders-need-apply/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chrysler-minivan-plant-hiring-outsiders-need-apply/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:03:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895170 Chrysler will hire 60 workers at its Windsor, Ontario minivan plant, but only candidates referred by current union workers will be considered for the jobs. The Globe and Mail is reporting that only current Windsor employees can refer potential candidates for the open positions, which will be subject to a lower tier wage for the […]

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Chrysler will hire 60 workers at its Windsor, Ontario minivan plant, but only candidates referred by current union workers will be considered for the jobs.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that only current Windsor employees can refer potential candidates for the open positions, which will be subject to a lower tier wage for the first 10 years. After that point, pay will rise from around $20 an hour, to the full rate of over $30 per hour.

Currently, the Windsor plant is running flat out at three shifts per day, plus overtime shifts on weekends. With minivan sales up 17 percent year to date, the extra workers will help Chrysler keep production up, and prepare for the next-generation minivan due out in 2017.

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Windsor Assembly Re-Tooling For Next Generation Chrysler Minivan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/windsor-assembly-re-tooling-for-next-generation-chrysler-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/windsor-assembly-re-tooling-for-next-generation-chrysler-minivan/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 15:29:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855937 Chrysler will re-tool their Windsor Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country, effectively securing the plant’s future for years to come. According to The Windsor Star, the re-tooling, which will begin in February and last for 13 weeks, will almost certainly transform the plant into one that is capable of building vehicles […]

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Chrysler will re-tool their Windsor Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country, effectively securing the plant’s future for years to come.

According to The Windsor Star, the re-tooling, which will begin in February and last for 13 weeks, will almost certainly transform the plant into one that is capable of building vehicles based on a new, front-drive flexible architecture. The new minivan is expected to ride on this architecture, with a new crossover also sharing the same underpinnings.

That would leave Windsor in a prime position to build the new vehicle, which would go into production in 2017. While Chrysler walked away from a request for a $1 billion subsidy package, the prospect of another vehicle added to Windsor could mean that FCA and various levels of the Canadian government could be back at the bargaining table fairly soon.

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Re-Tooling Could Give Clues To Chrysler Minivan Plant’s Fate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/re-tooling-could-give-clues-to-chrysler-minivan-plants-fate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/re-tooling-could-give-clues-to-chrysler-minivan-plants-fate/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 10:30:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=827386 While the exact location of the next Chrysler minivan is still up in the air, some clues as to whether it will stay in Windsor, Ontario could be found in the plant’s re-tooling time. According to the Windsor Star, Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo said that there could be “about a two to three-month […]

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While the exact location of the next Chrysler minivan is still up in the air, some clues as to whether it will stay in Windsor, Ontario could be found in the plant’s re-tooling time.

According to the Windsor Star, Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo said that there could be

“about a two to three-month shutdown to retool the facility…If there is a full investment there could be a downtime associated to it…We don’t know whether it will be two weeks, four weeks, two months potentially. That’s what could be happening if there is a full refresh  of the current vehicle and a full rebuild of the new  vehicle that’s projected for 2016.”

While Chiodo went on to talk about the economic impacts of a long term shutdown (with certain suppliers not getting the same benefits as Unifor), the longer downtime would suggest that FCA is investing serious money in Windsor to allow it to build a new flexible architecture for not just the new minivan, but other crossovers and sedans built on the same platform. That would be a case of exchanging some short-term pain for the long term payoff of a secure future for Windsor.

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Latest Rumors Out Of Windsor Point To Dodge Grand Caravan’s Demise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/latest-rumors-out-of-windsor-point-to-dodge-grand-caravans-demise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/latest-rumors-out-of-windsor-point-to-dodge-grand-caravans-demise/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 16:26:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=492684 It appears that the Chrysler Town & Country has won the minivan Hunger Games, as the latest report from the Windsor Star claims that the T&C will be the lone minivan offering from Chrysler when the next generation van goes on sale in 2015. The subject of which van would survive has been a constant […]

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It appears that the Chrysler Town & Country has won the minivan Hunger Games, as the latest report from the Windsor Star claims that the T&C will be the lone minivan offering from Chrysler when the next generation van goes on sale in 2015.

The subject of which van would survive has been a constant source of speculation for industry watchers. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has issued a number of conflicting statements, stating one brand would get a new larger crossover. It turns out that Chrysler will be getting a van, and a crossover, while Windsor’s assembly plant will some new product as well

Chrysler has not said publicly which of the two vans would be discontinued or when a new van would be launched. However, CEO Sergio Marchionne has said that the plant will get a new global platform, capable of producing a variety of vehicles, including a sedan as well as a small van for international export.

The new crossover is said to be reminiscent of the Chrysler Pacifica in that it’s a large crossover ostensibly with three rows. There’s been talk of Dodge axing the Durango, and a Chrysler crossover would give dealers a way to retain Durango customers, while also beefing up the brand’s current 4-vehicle lineup. The loss of the Durango and Caravan would hurt Dodge in the short-term, but the two don’t exactly fit with the brand’s “sporty” image. Then again, neither does the Journey, but that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere either. One market that would feel the sting of the Grand Caravan’s demise is of course, Canada. The Caravan is a perennial best-seller in The Great White North, and the T&C would have to dip a lot lower in its pricing range to fill the void left by budget entries like the $18,995 Caravan Canada Value Package and better equipped mid-level trim ranges (for comparison, the T&C starts at just over $30k in Canada).

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Ford F-Series Outsells Entire Minivan Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/ford-f-series-outsells-entire-minivan-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/ford-f-series-outsells-entire-minivan-market/#comments Thu, 18 Oct 2012 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=464069 The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country accounted for 49 percent of all minivans sold in America last month – and their year to date sales total isn’t that far off either. With nearly 196,000 minivans sold through the end of September, the Chrysler twins make up 45 percent of the total minivan […]

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The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country accounted for 49 percent of all minivans sold in America last month – and their year to date sales total isn’t that far off either.

With nearly 196,000 minivans sold through the end of September, the Chrysler twins make up 45 percent of the total minivan market. Broken out individually, the Dodge Grand Caravan has close to a 10,000 unit lead over the second place Honda Odyssey, and almost 20,000 units on the third place Chrysler Town & Country in terms of year-to-date sales.

Of course, this starts to look insignificant when you look at the data laid out by Timothy Cain. Year-to-date truck sales indicate that the Ford F-Seres, America’s Sweetheart on four wheels, has sold 463,733 units. The entire minivan market has racked up roughly 421,000 units so far. The dominance of pickup trucks is nothing new, but this puts in into perspective if nothing else. Not even record gas prices seem to be able to stop the full-size truck’s hegemonic stranglehold on the American auto market.

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With A Strike Looming, Chrysler Vans Enjoy Market Stranglehold http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/with-a-strike-looming-chrysler-vans-enjoy-market-stranglehold/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/with-a-strike-looming-chrysler-vans-enjoy-market-stranglehold/#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2012 14:54:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=461152 As the threat of a strike at Chrysler’s Windsor plant looms, it’s worth examining just how much of an iron grip the Pentastar minivans have on the market. Tim Cain, TTAC’s favorite third-party sales guru, has the latest numbers for American minivan sales, and the Dodge Grand Caravan is firmly in the lead this year, […]

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As the threat of a strike at Chrysler’s Windsor plant looms, it’s worth examining just how much of an iron grip the Pentastar minivans have on the market.

Tim Cain, TTAC’s favorite third-party sales guru, has the latest numbers for American minivan sales, and the Dodge Grand Caravan is firmly in the lead this year, with 94,639 units sold. While the Honda Odyssey is firmly in second place (86,459), holding a nearly 10,000 unit lead over the fourth place Chrysler Town & Country, the combined sales figures for the two Chrysler vans have them outselling the Odyssey by an almost 2:1 margin. No wonder Sergio Marchionne is so eager to consolidate Chrysler’s minivan offerings under a single umbrella.

According to Cain, 45 percent of minivans sold in America this year have been one of the two Chrysler vans. In Canada, that number is even higher; last year saw the Grand Caravan alone account for 56.5 percent of the minivan market. In 2012, the Grand Caravan is ranked 4th in YTD sales up North. Only the Ford F-Series, Dodge Ram and Honda Civic are outselling it.

Cain cites the Canada Value Package and the American Value Package, which sells for $19,995 in both countries, as a key factor in helping drive sales of the Caravan. The Grand Caravan is an even more attractive proposition in Canada, where higher fuel prices make larger SUVs a less attractive proposition. The Grand Caravan still has plenty of room for kids and their hockey bags (hold your laughter, please, this is a serious issue for a lot of consumers in Canada) without offering the fuel economy penalties that come with a large SUV or crossover.  While the CVP is undoubtedly a loss leader for Chrysler, it helps get customers into the showroom, and as Cain notes

“Family van buyers don’t want to pay $10K more for a similarly equipped Sienna or Odyssey, even if they like it more.”

Now put that in the context of a CAW strike; if the Bramalea plant building the LX cars went down, life would go on. But if Windsor stopped cranking out GCs and T&Cs, there might be a problem. As of September 1st, there was a 27 day supply of Grand Caravans and a 49 day supply of Town & Countrys. They’re not exactly stacking them high and selling them cheap like General Motors is forced to do with their full-size pickups.

 

 

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Chrysler Minivans Here To Stay, But Direction Remains Unclear http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/chrysler-minivans-here-to-stay-but-direction-remains-unclear/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/chrysler-minivans-here-to-stay-but-direction-remains-unclear/#comments Sun, 06 May 2012 17:14:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=443101 With a lock on at least 40 percent of the minivan market, Chrysler isn’t going to be exiting the minivan market anytime soon – but they do have to decide on what direction they’ll take the next-generation minivan. The company still hasn’t decided on whether to kill off the Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge […]

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With a lock on at least 40 percent of the minivan market, Chrysler isn’t going to be exiting the minivan market anytime soon – but they do have to decide on what direction they’ll take the next-generation minivan. The company still hasn’t decided on whether to kill off the Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan – or if they should keep both.

The Town & Country has a higher average transaction price than the Grand Caravan, and many have suggested that the Chrysler van would be the sole remaining entrant in the lineup. But the Grand Caravan’s runaway success (where it ranks among the best selling vehicles) in Canada has given executives some reservations about keeping one model only.

Either way, Dodge will have a new crossover to replace the Grand Caravan and Avenger, featuring traditional doors. Any future Dodge minivan would have sliding doors, as expected in the segment. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told Automotive News that the Chrysler 700C concept minivan would provide a hint at the direction of future minivans, but that some unpopular styling elements would not make it into production.

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