Chrysler Looks Like Losing Minivan Title

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
chrysler looks like losing minivan title

In 1997, U.S. automakers relinquished the title of "best-selling car in America" to the Japanese brands– and never got it back. Now another market segment is on the verge of falling to the transplants. CNNMoney reports that unless Chrysler can rev-up sales of the Dodge Caravan, it will surrender its long-held position as America's most popular minivan to the Honda Odyssey. At the end of November, the Odyssey was about 3.5K units ahead of Caravan. If the current sales trend continues through December, it'll finish the year as sales champ. Chrysler explains the loss to the changeover to the new version this year. Oh, and reduced fleet sales. And that the minivan market is dwindling overall. Whatever the reason, rest assured they'll do everything they can to hang onto the "most popular minivan" title– even if they have to pile on incentives and dump inventory into the fleet market. And it still might not be enough.

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  • Juniper Juniper on Dec 12, 2007

    If you want to crown them go ahead. I don't know about anyone else but I have actually owned 2 caravans an 87 and a 97. After 10 years the 97 is starting to have its first problems. A starter and an alternator. Ironically, these are both Denso parts. I think the fact these 12 year old vehicles are still being used and abused by low buck contractors is quite a compliment. I guess we all know where those early Toyota transplants are.

  • Zenith Zenith on Dec 12, 2007

    My old '91 Grand Caravan AWDis now owned by my daughter. Since having its transmission rebuilt and a new trans. computer installed in 2000, it hasn't needed anything major. It squeaks,creaks,rattles,eats prodigious amounts of gas, and is harder on tires and front brakes than either of the Voyagers that I owned previously (just this particular AWD,or do "they all do that"?), but the damn thing still looks good(except for some peeling paint on the sliding door),the upholstery has worn well, the carpets quickly wore down to a given point and pretty much haven't gotten any worse in the past 6-7 years. It always starts and always runs. I wonder if the Daimler/Cerberus junkers with their hollow middle-row floors and overall nasty cheapness, both inside and out, will even be around in significant numbers, by the early 2020s.

  • Akitadog Akitadog on Dec 12, 2007

    My parents' '92 Grand Caravan was so bad, they traded it in after 6 years and 5 transmissions. Also, don't even think of applying the parking brake, or you'd never get that thing unstuck. They traded for a 98 Mazda MPV. Though it's way too overweight for its engine output, it's had only electrical issues that have not occurred in a long while. They still have it with about 150K on the odo.

  • Windswords Windswords on Dec 13, 2007

    Juniper, I was Caravan owner too. A 94 LE Sportwagon. I test drove the Mitsubishi engined 3.0 liter and the Chrylser 3.3 liter Grand Caravan. The 3.3 drove way better. So we got that one. It had infamous 4 spd auto and the built-in child seats. The tranny never gave us a problem (most of the early bugs had been fixed by then). Actually I can't remember having to take it in for any warranty work at all, and I'm the kind of person that remembers everything that goes wrong or is done to my cars. I can still remember every warranty issue with my first new car purchase over 20 years ago.